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LONDON, Nov 14 (Reuters) - England will hand debuts to forward Raheem Sterling, midfielder Leon Osman and defender Steven Caulker in the friendly against Sweden in Stockholm on Wednesday, British media have reported.
Everton’s Osman, 31 years and 181 days old, and Liverpool’s Sterling, aged 17 and 342 days, would span the biggest age gap between England debutants in the same match since the Second World War.
“Steven Caulker and Raheem have been playing regularly for the under-21s and have made that transition you expect players to make when they are playing well for the under-21s into the national team,” Hodgson told reporters regarding the 20-year-old Tottenham Hotspur player and the Anfield youngster.
”Leon Osman is the odd one out, he’s a bit different. He has been performing regularly and well for Everton but has been passed over.
”I thought it was time to give him a chance because he has been one of the unsung heroes of a very good football club and a very good football team for many years.
”He is a very energetic player. And the fact he is 31 surprises me because he plays like a much younger man.
“Let’s hope that continues and I won’t have to worry about his birth certificate.”
Sterling would become England’s fifth youngest player.
“In some of the Liverpool games I have seen, he has pretty much been the star player,” said Hodgson, who worked with Sterling when he was Liverpool manager.
”He is extremely dangerous with his ability to run with the ball, his pace and directness. He has even scored one or two important goals.
“If he can do it on a regular basis for Liverpool in the Premier League I have every right to think he can do it playing for England as well.”
England: Joe Hart (Manchester City), Glen Johnson (Liverpool), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Steven Caulker (Tottenham Hotspur), Leighton Baines (Everton), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Tom Cleverley (Manchester United), Leon Osman (Everton), Raheem Sterling (Liverpool), Danny Welbeck (Manchester United), Ashley Young (Manchester United) (Writing by Ken Ferris; Editing by Greg Stutchbury)