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England manager Hodgson explains Drinkwater and Townsend omissions and backs Rashford to shine

Roy Hodgson, England manager. Photo: PA

England manager Roy Hodgson says it came down to a case of taking an extra attacker or midfielder when it came to picking Marcus Rashford over Danny Drinkwater and Andros Townsend.

18-year old Manchester United striker Rashford was included at the expense of the two midfielders and Hodgson has explained that the decision offers 'more balance' to the squad.

Danny Drinkwater missed out on the final squad of 23. Credit: PA

“It was a very difficult choice," Hodgson told a packed press conference, "It was tough and in some ways I am satisfied I have the 23 I want to take.

"As far as we are concerned if you look back over the two years we have been working together, Danny was very much the last man in, in that respect.

"It simply became a question of do I take the extra attacker or midfielder? That's how Rashford came about. The front players, apart from Harry Kane - we wouldn't want to move him from a central position - can do the job (wide) in midfield we've got Sterling, Lallana.

"The balance is good. If anything, it is tilted towards an offensive approach. We believe defending is a team job.”

Hodgson said of striker Rashford: “He’s had that fantastic end to the season. He has special qualities.”

England captain and Rashford's Man Utd teammate Wayne Rooney, sitting alongside Hodgson added: “I think the way he took to coming into the Manchester United team and the way he's performed from when he's come in until the end of the season has been incredible really. "He's certainly showed what he can do in his first game for England, getting his first goal in the first couple of minutes."

Rashford scored on his England debut against Australia. Credit: PA

Hodgson added he will not experiment in the friendly against Portugal tomorrow night and that Rooney will start.

However, the England boss was keeping his cards close to his chest about the team who will start at the Euros - they face Russia on the 12th June.

"I don't need to try anything out any more but I'm not prepared to say the XI who start tomorrow will start against Russia.

"I don't want to commit myself to a team against Russia in 10 days' time. It will be a strong team against Portugal, Wayne Rooney will be the captain and will play.

"I've been close to knowing for a long time, if you take out Marcus Rashford who is a new boy on the block, there is nobody's game I don't know extremely well. I know the players, I know what they can be and we are capable of playing against Russia with almost two XIs."