Roy Hodgson hopes ex-Blade comes knocking for World Cup qualifiers

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FORMER Sheffield United defender Kyle Walker is looked upon by Roy Hodgson as a potential contender for a place in England’s World Cup campaign.

Although Hodgson returned home well in credit after a Euro 2012 performance that far exceeded expectation, he knows that the positive work must continue.

That means creating even more competition for places Hodgson is set to make wholesale changes for the friendly with Italy in August before deciding on his squad for the first World Cup qualifiers against Moldova and Ukraine in September.

“I’m rather hoping one or two players will knock so hard on my door that they prove to be the right ones,” said Hodgson.

“You will definitely see some revolution there because that game is going to be the ideal opportunity for me to look at some players who weren’t with us (in Euro 2012) and maybe feel they should have been. I want to see if they can add to the quality of our team.”

Hodgson highlighted Walker and Chris Smalling. Jack Wilshere, Jack Rodwell and Tom Cleverley may also come into the frame, and those who had only a little game-time this summer, such as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jordan Henderson, or none at all, for example Phil Jones and Martin Kelly, may be offered an opportunity.

Adam Johnson and Daniel Sturridge were on Hodgson’s stand-by list for Poland and Ukraine, while Norwich keeper John Ruddy withdrew after breaking a finger on the first day of training.

Hodgson said: “At all costs, we have to retain our defensive organisation, discipline and teamwork and the desire to be part of the England team. The next question is then: ‘Can we improve our quality?”