World Cup: Roy Hodgson backs England's young guns after naming squad
England manager Roy Hodgson has backed his youthful squad to make an impact at this summer's World Cup.
Last Updated: 12/05/14 4:10pm
After naming eight players under the age of 24 in his 23-man squad for Brazil, Hodgson insisted all of them deserved their place after fantastic seasons for their respective clubs.
Everton midfielder Ross Barkley is in alongside Liverpool duo Raheem Sterling and Jordan Henderson, while Southampton's Luke Shaw beat Ashley Cole to a spot at left-back.
Arsenal pair Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jack Wilshere are also selected along with Manchester United's Phil Jones and Danny Welbeck, while John Stones and Jon Flanagan are on the stand-by list.
Hodgson said: "These youngsters have imposed themselves upon me and my thinking because they've been so effective and successful for their clubs.
"A lot of water has gone under the bridge since we qualified back in October and you can't ignore what these players have been doing on a week-to-week basis.
"There are an awful lot of caps in this 23 so we shouldn't get too hung on the amount of youngsters. But they deserve to be in there. I'm not taking anyone just for the experience.
"I believe the squad can win the World Cup. Otherwise what's the point in taking part? But if we're going to win then we have to prepare and play very well.
"This group has got a lot of talent, we all know it, but they have got to show their talent otherwise all the belief, optimism and words count for nothing.
"There is a mood of positivity around us and we'll work and feed off that. Whether it takes us to the World Cup final who knows but we'll do our best."
Barkley, 20, has burst onto the Premier League scene this season and there is a wave of optimism behind the youngster's explosive ability in front of goal.
"Ross is a very exciting talent and if he can continue at that level then he has a fantastic future in front of him," Hodgson said.
"But I would hope people are realistic in their expectations of him. I wouldn't want to put on him the kind of pressure that says he has to score goals like he did against Manchester City, or run 40 yards and beat lots of players - that's unrealistic.
"But I'll be surprised if the opposition coaches of the teams in our group aren't saying to their players: 'This England team is a very good one, with very good players, and you can definitely lose to them'."