Is Roy Hodgson Proving Greg Dyke's Point to Premier League with England Team?

Ian RodgersWorld Football Staff WriterSeptember 6, 2013

CHISINAU, MOLDOVA - SEPTEMBER 07: Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard of England look on during the FIFA 2014 World Cup qualifier match between Moldova and England at Zimbru Stadium on September 7, 2012 in Chisinau, Moldova.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images

We can only wonder what Football Association chairman Greg Dyke was thinking when he saw the England team sheet for the World Cup qualifier against Moldova.

Roy Hodgson took the surprising step of announcing his team for the game at Wembley 24 hours before the event, as reported by The Telegraph's Jeremy Wilson.

But the inclusion of Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard in midfield will have played straight into the hands of Dyke, who warned that the Premier League was risking the future of the national team through its domination by foreign players, as John Dillon of the Daily Express reported.

In amongst the calls for England to win the 2022 World Cup and reach the Euro 2018 semifinals, Dyke was adamant that the English top flight was creating a vacuum for young homegrown players to thrive.

When Hodgson revealed his XI to take on the Moldovans, the names of the experienced Gerrard and Lampard stood out in midfield alongside Jack Wilshere.

Coupled with that, the inclusion of Southampton striker Rickie Lambert for his first full international cap at the age of 31 is a troubling one.

It is true that Hodgson has had his hands tied by the loss of Wayne Rooney and in-form Daniel Sturridge through injury, and there is little doubt Lambert, who will be supported by Danny Welbeck and Theo Walcott, deserves a chance after his goalscoring England debut against Scotland last month.

With due respect to Moldova, this is a game where Hodgson and England could have taken a chance to field one or two newcomers across the pitch. The opposition are currently ranked 123rd in the FIFA world rankings and should possess little threat to England.

But it is difficult to condemn the England manager's choice of personnel when the subject of 2014 World Cup qualification is paramount.

However, although it is understandable that Hodgson is considering the possibility of goal difference becoming a factor in deciding England's Group H fate, choosing the experience of a combined age of 68 does lead to questions being raised.

Dyke, of course, put his hand in the air on Wednesday with his rallying call over the national team, but the selection of the Gerrard-Lampard axis begs the question of whether the pair are actually getting better with age or England are suffering from a lack of youngsters ready to step into the breach.

Manchester United midfielder Tom Cleverley, 24, would have been an ideal choice, but his patchy club form so far this season means few will argue with his absence, while Jonjo Shelvey, 21, and Jordan Henderson, 23, have also played a part under Hodgson.

Hodgson, though, is walking a fine line between optimism and exaggerating England's World Cup hopes for the future after Dyke's call for victory in Qatar.

Hodgson is a pragmatic manager, selecting players for the job in hand. But his choices for the qualifiers against Moldova and then in Ukraine on Tuesday, inadvertently or not, indicate a belief that his chairman was speaking the truth.