England: Roy Hodgson says his young team will peak in 2022

England manager Roy Hodgson
Hodgson said that apart from Wayne Rooney, Phil Jagielka and Leighton Baines, he "can't think of any of the players who might not be available for 2018"

England boss Roy Hodgson says the current group of young English talent will not peak until the 2022 World Cup.

Players like Liverpool's Raheem Sterling, Spurs' Harry Kane and Everton's Ross Barkley should be key men for England in the next few years.

Asked if that gave him hope about the country's prospects at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, Hodgson replied: "Some of these players will be only 23 then.

"Realistically I would say the current crop will be at their peak in 2022."

England midfielder Ross Barkley
Everton's Ross Barkley, 21, has started only two England games but is tipped to be one of the stars of the future

There are three major tournaments before the Qatar 2022 World Cup, starting with next year's European Championship in France.

England top their qualifying group with four wins from four, a brace from Arsenal striker Danny Welbeck and Wayne Rooney's 44th goal for his country securing a 3-1 victory over Slovenia in their last competitive match in November.

But despite his belief that his young team have yet to reach their potential, Hodgson says it does not make it impossible to succeed in France at a competition England have never won.

"You can win things when you're not at the peak of your powers, so I wouldn't write off 2016 or 2018," said the England manager.

"My work is to get the best out of them now and we are doing our level best to go there next year and win it."

Hodgson admits to being more excited about the current crop of young talent at England's disposal than he has been at any time since his appointment in 2012.

But he knows it will take time for the likes of Tottenham forward Kane, 21, and Liverpool winger Sterling, 20, to really prosper at international level.

"There is a long way to go and they have a lot to learn about what makes you a top player," he said.

"Harry Kane hasn't yet played an international game, Sterling hasn't yet reached 10. So, yes, I am excited but we need to keep things in perspective."

Hodgson says he has yet to speak to his England coach Gary Neville following the former Manchester United defender's announcement that he "has a decision to make"external-link about his future after Euro 2016.

But Hodgson says he hopes Neville remains involved in coaching and has tipped him as a possible future England boss.

England coach Gary Neville and manager Roy Hodgson
Gary Neville was appointed as an England coach in May 2012, before the European Championship in Poland and the Ukraine

"I think he is going to become a very fine coach and a very fine manager," Hodgson said.

"It is up to the FA to decide what his value to England is in the future, but he is a very good coach now and he will become an even better coach with experience.

"Is he a future England manager? Yes he could be."

England host Lithuania in their next Euro 2016 qualifier on 27 March, and face Italy in a friendly in Turin four days later.

Liverpool forward Daniel Sturridge should be available to Hodgson for the first time since suffering a thigh injury while on England duty in September.

At the time Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers criticised England's handling of his striker, saying the injury "could have been prevented".

Hodgson denied that the situation had soured his relationship with the Anfield club and said it was simply "unfortunate" that Sturridge - who scored against West Ham on his return last month - suffered the injury when he did.

"I have always said Daniel is a player who has the talent we are looking for," added Hodgson. "I am delighted he doesn't have muscle problems any more and we have the chance to bring him back."

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