LONDON (Reuters) - England manager Roy Hodgson backed goalkeeper Joe Hart to regain top form but will take the opportunity to look at understudies Fraser Forster or John Ruddy in this month’s friendlies against Chile and Germany.
Hart, dropped by Manchester City after a series of mistakes, will start one of the World Cup warm-ups at Wembley stadium, with England hosting Chile on November 15 and Germany four days later.
Hodgson called up uncapped Southampton striker Jay Rodriguez for the first time, one of three Saints players in the 28-man squad along with fellow frontman Rickie Lambert, who has scored twice in three internationals, and winger Adam Lallana.
Hart has been left out of Manchester City’s last two matches but Hodgson said he would only be worried by the situation if the 26-year-old was still out of the team and not playing regularly by next March or April.
“It is November. He made a mistake or possibly two mistakes. As a result of those mistakes the (Manchester City manager) Manuel Pellegrini has made his decision,” Hodgson said on Thursday.
“I would be a lot more concerned if Joe Hart never got his place back and if in the spring of next year when I have to select the 23 players he was a constant reserve. But I will cross that bridge when I come to it.
“But he is such a good goalkeeper he will get back in the team.”
Hodgson said preparations for next year’s finals started now, and there was no time to celebrate getting there.
“We’re looking forward to Brazil. We only have three games before I name the squad so this preparation period is very important. It is preparation, not celebration.
“It does temper my thinking because I am trying to achieve a balance of players who have not played so many games giving players a chance to show what they can do and keeping together a group of players that need to play together.”
Southampton’s excellent start to the Premier League season has been reflected with the inclusion of Rodriguez and Lallana, while defender Luke Shaw and James Ward-Prowse were named in the Under-21 squad.
Former Under-21 player Nathaniel Clyne, Southampton’s right-back, is also on Hodgson’s radar and the manager explained: “You have to give an awful lot of credit to Southampton because of course in the past they have provided some very important players to the Premier League, not least Gareth Bale, the world’s most expensive player.
“It proves the value of a good academy system and perhaps more young English players will come through at other clubs.”
Rodriguez, has been capped once for the Under-21s and midfielder Lallana has figured at U-18, U-19 and Under-21 level.
Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson, whose style was criticized in Alex Ferguson’s recent autobiography, returns to the squad as does his Anfield team mate Glen Johnson who has been missing because of injury.
Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere, who is nursing yet another ankle injury, is in the squad but was being monitored on a daily basis.
Goalkeepers: Joe Hart, Fraser Forster, John Ruddy
Defenders: Leighton Baines, Gary Cahill, Ashley Cole, Kieran Gibbs, Phil Jagielka, Glen Johnson, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Kyle Walker
Midfielders: Ross Barkley, Michael Carrick, Tom Cleverley, Steven Gerrard, Jordan Henderson, Adam Lallana, Frank Lampard, James Milner, Andros Townsend, Jack Wilshere
Forwards: Jermain Defoe, Rickie Lambert, Jay Rodriguez, Wayne Rooney, Daniel Sturridge, Danny Welbeck
Editing by Justin Palmer