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Hodgson keeps an eye on Sterling and Milner

Liverpool forward Sterling is nursing a toe injury, while Manchester City midfielder Milner has been managing a knee problem through matches at club level of late.

Sterling came in for criticism when he asked to be left on the bench for October's 1-0 Group E win in Estonia, citing fatigue.

But, speaking at a news conference on Thursday, Hodgson hinted that he will release Sterling ahead of next week's friendly against Italy

"I haven't decided," he said when asked about the likelihood of the 20-year-old featuring in Turin. 

"There's an obvious case [to rest] him and James Milner, who's been playing for quite a while now with a knee problem.

"There are those two and others who we will have to take a very serious look at. In Raheem's case he needs some specific treatment and, who knows, if it goes well tomorrow night the wise thing might be to give someone else a chance."

England's top players being short of their best physical condition has been a regular hindrance at major tournaments.

The 2022 FIFA World Cup was recently moved to a November-December staging due to oppressive temperatures in Qatar during the traditional June-July slot.

Hodgson, who saw his side crash out during the group stages at last year's World Cup in Brazil, believes a tournament later in the year could benefit England's national team

"The new date won't hurt," he added. "September, October, November is a good time to play international football because the players have had a summer break.

"It won't be a disadvantage for the European teams. The disadvantage will come when the various leagues in European countries have a problem. The World Cup itself won't be a disadvantage for European teams or England."