Hodgson reveals long-term admiration of Osman after England call

England manager Roy Hodgson has revealed he has long admired Leon Osman, and believes he has an excellent balance of youth and experience in his squad for the trip to Sweden.

The Everton midfielder has been named in the senior squad for the first time in his career after a consistent spell of fine performances for the Toffees so far this term.

Hodgson is pleased he has been able to name the 31-year-old as one of his 23-man squad for the match in Stockholm next week, and admitted he has watched the midfielder for some time.

“He’s a player that I’ve admired since I came back to Fulham five years ago. He’s always done extremely well whenever I’ve played Everton or watched Everton,” he told the FA’s official website.

“Of course, he’s faced great competition in the position that he plays, but on this occasion we’ve got the opportunity and the space to bring Leon into the team.”

Liverpool’s Raheem Sterling has also earned a first call-up to the senior squad after some fine displays for the Reds, and Hodgson was keen to shrug off suggestions the 17-year-old is in the squad to stop Jamaica from trying to get the youngster to represent them.

“He’s in the squad on merit and because I think he’s done extremely well for Liverpool,” he added. “He burst onto the scene at the start of the season and has been ever-present in the Liverpool team in recent games and has played a very exciting part.

“It has nothing to do with him being courted by anybody else [Jamaica]. My views on that subject are clear, as far as I’m concerned a player should have the right to choose who he wants to play for.

“But it would seem to me, having played at every level for England so far, it must be Raheem’s hope that he’s going to represent his country at national team level and he’s on the threshold of doing that at the moment.

“And he’s doing it because he’s there on merit as one of the better players that we have in England at this time.”

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