International Friendly: England v Denmark

England manager Roy Hodgson maintains there are spaces available in his FIFA World Cup squad ahead of Wednesday's friendly with Denmark.

The Danes' visit to Wembley is the first of four matches Hodgson's side will negotiate before opening their World Cup campaign against Italy in Manaus.

Having overseen home friendly defeats to Chile and Germany since England qualified for the global showpiece as winners of UEFA Group H, Hodgson has opted to hand Southampton defender Luke Shaw a maiden call-up as well as rewarding Raheem Sterling for his fine recent form at Liverpool.

Steven Caulker is another young player given a chance to prove his worth in the final match before Hodgson names his 30-man provisional squad on May 13.

England's subsequent friendlies against Peru, Ecuador and Honduras all take place after that squad is named.

While established seniors such as Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerrard are all but guaranteed to feature in Brazil, Hodgson has urged the likes of Andy Carroll and Adam Johnson, who have missed out on selection for the Denmark game, not to give up hope of selection. 

"It would be very foolish of me in March to give a definitive 30-man squad (for the World Cup)," Hodgson said.

"This is the squad I have chosen for now.

"Andy Carroll has hardly played (after returning from injury). Adam Johnson is a player we know and because of the competition we have decided not to include him in this squad."

Tottenham defender Kyle Walker is unlikely to play in Wednesday's game according to club manager Tim Sherwood while Caulker, Andros Townsend, John Ruddy and Adam Lallana all sat out training on Monday morning.

Denmark also have injury concerns, with Sherwood stating on Sunday that Tottenham midfielder Christian Eriksen will not be able to feature.

Martin Braithwaite has been confirmed as an absentee after picking up an injury in Toulouse's 2-0 win over Nice on Saturday. 

On the agenda for Morten Olsen's side is qualification for the UEFA European Championships in 2016 after they narrowly missed out on a place in the play-offs during World Cup qualifying. 

Having finished as runners-up in Group B, Denmark were ranked the lowest of the second-placed teams and will therefore watch the action in Brazil from afar before aiming to reach the European Championship for the eighth time in nine attempts. 

Denmark rounded off their World Cup qualifying campaign with a 6-0 hammering off Malta before edging Norway 2-1 in a November friendly, meaning Olsen's side will be protecting an unbeaten run that stands at five games.


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