LONDON (Reuters) - England will select an experimental lineup against France in Tuesday’s friendly at Wembley after a series of injuries, manager Roy Hodgson said on Monday.
Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Ryan Mason has been called into the squad to replace the injured Fabian Delph for a match that has been overshadowed by the deadly attacks in Paris on Friday.
“I think for us, I‘m talking purely football now, it (the match) would never have taken on the importance we were hoping, simply because so many players are not available for the game,” Hodgson told a news conference.
“It’s going to be a young team tomorrow, I think six players are under the age of 22.”
The match is part of England’s build-up to Euro 2016 but Hodgson will have little chance to run the rule over his preferred lineup given the spate of injuries.
Nevertheless, England captain Wayne Rooney is excited by the crop of youngsters coming through to the squad with the France game giving them an opportunity to gain some experience.
“To know the manager has faith in youngsters and will reward them... I think that’s great. It’s a big opportunity for those young lads,” he told the news conference.
“I’ve said over the last 18 months I’ve been very excited by this team, there are a lot of younger players in the squad and it’s a great opportunity for them,” said Rooney.
“So many young players starting the game is a big challenge against a good French team so we need to be together and try and put our gameplan into effect.”
Manchester United’s Jesse Lingard, 22, was called into the squad for the first time on Sunday as club mate Michael Carrick and Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy were ruled out through injury.
Carrick returned to United after being carried off on a stretcher with an ankle injury in the final minute of Friday’s 2-0 friendly defeat away to European champions Spain.
Vardy missed Friday’s match due to an injury suffered playing for his club the previous weekend.
Mason, 24, has not started a Premier League match since recovering from a knee injury suffered in September. He earned his only cap against Italy in March and joins fellow Spurs midfielders Eric Dier and Dele Alli in the squad.
Writing by Ken Ferris; Editing by Pritha Sarkar