• England Football

England's midfield tyros up against 'old guard'

ESPN staff
September 10, 2012

Roy Hodgson has admitted that England's young guns face a fight to unseat the 'old guard' of Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard for a starting role in midfield for the Three Lions.

The England manager was delighted with the performances of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Theo Walcott and particularly Tom Cleverley against Moldova on Friday night.

But the trio will find it tough to force their way into the starting line-up ahead of captain Gerrard, 34, and Lampard, 36, whose two goals set England on course to victory in the World Cup qualifier.

"It's nice to see these young players taking their chances and showing they merit a place in the squad," said Hodgson.

"But the old guard is making certain they don't get too much of a look in.

"I was really pleased with Cleverley, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in the first half, and Theo Walcott in the second half.

"It's easy to see why Sir Alex Ferguson picks Cleverley so often in the Manchester United team.

"It's becoming evident that it was a good decision to use him for Team GB, too, which gave me a chance to discover him."

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