England boss Roy Hodgson happy with progress despite World Cup

By Phil McNultyChief football writer

England manager Roy Hodgson says his side were making progress even before the "cold shower" of World Cup failure.

Hodgson has presided over five successive victories since exiting at the group stage in Brazil and takes his side to meet Scotland on Tuesday.

"We were doing a lot of things right leading up to Brazil, but the World Cup was a real cold shower," said Hodgson.

"Supposedly we had to start again, but I don't think that. We'd always been working towards where we are today."

Saturday's 3-1 win against Slovenia at Wembley was England's fourth from four Euro 2016 qualifiers and left them six points clear at the top of Group E.

And Hodgson claims the trauma of England's early departure in South America convinced him to give a new generation of talent responsibility in the Euro qualifiers.

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Liverpool attacker Raheem Sterling has now become an integral part of the England set-up, Arsenal's Jack Wilshere has cemented his place and Everton teenager Ross Barkley is also ready to press his claims for a regular starting berth.

"A lot of players were beginning to emerge and stake their claim just before the World Cup, players who hadn't necessarily fully succeeded," said Hodgson.

"I'd like to think some of the players we've brought in have shown signs they can justify the confidence I've shown in them."

Hodgson will "probably" all six substitutes at his disposal against Scotland in Glasgow in a bid to look at as many of his squad as possible before the next Euro 2016 qualifier against Lithuania at Wembley on 27 March.

And Hodgson said he would not hide behind an extensive use of replacements should England lose in the hostile atmosphere of Celtic Park.

"I don't think we've ever looked for excuses," added the former West Brom, Fulham and Liverpool boss. "The friendlies we have had have been against strong opposition such as Italy, Sweden, Germany, the Republic of Ireland and now Scotland twice.

"We've chosen teams who could beat us and when they have beaten us we have accepted that.

"I'm not looking for excuses if we don't win. If we don't it will be because we haven't played well enough or Scotland have been better.

"This is the last time we will be together as a group, training and playing, for a few months. There will be quite a few guys who here who didn't get a look-in against Slovenia and I might want to give them a look-in. If I do, it will be for that reason."

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