Belfast Telegraph

European Qualifiers: England call-up is not easy, says riled boss Roy Hodgson after Carragher outburst

By Paul Hirst

Roy Hodgson has hit back at Jamie Carragher over his claim it has never been easier to earn an England call-up.

Carragher said the influx of foreign players into the Premier League had left Hodgson with little option but to call up Dele Alli and Danny Ings for Friday's Euro 2016 qualifier against Estonia and tonight's game with Lithuania.

"It's never been easier to win an England call-up," the former England and Liverpool defender said. "If anyone doubted that, Roy Hodgson's latest squad proved how quickly a young player can be elevated."

Alli is in contention to make his full England debut against Lithuania in Monday just five months after he was plying his trade for MK Dons in League One.

The 19-year-old has started just four Premier League games since his move to Tottenham and only made his debut for the England Under-21s last month.

Hodgson took umbrage at Carragher's criticism on the eve of the match in Vilnius.

"I think you have to be careful with those sorts of comments. It's not a situation where, the moment you kick the ball correctly from A to B, you'll get in the England team," the England manager said.

"It's not like that at all.

"With Dele Alli you have to bear in mind the number of injuries we've had."

Despite those injuries - to Michael Carrick, Jordan Henderson, Jack Wilshere and Fabian Delph - there is no guarantee Alli will start Monday's qualifier at the LFF Stadium.

And Hodgson has made a point of telling the teenager it is likely he will drop down to the under-21s for the next set of internationals.

"I said to him that I'm pleased to have him here, he's here on merit, and he can handle the pressures, but I did say to him that there's a good chance you'll be with the under-21s the next time," Hodgson said.

Belfast Telegraph