Hodgson defends Wilshere call


England manager Roy Hodgson says he included Jack Wilshere in his Euro 2016 provisional squad as the Arsenal midfielder is a “special player”.

Wilshere suffered a leg break in pre-season last summer and spent the vast majority of the campaign on the sidelines.

The 24-year-old managed just three outings in the Premier League, making a solitary start in the final match of the season.

However, Hodgson has no major concerns over Wilshere’s fitness and has stressed the midfielder’s quality made it an easy decision to hand him a spot in his initial 26-man squad, which must be cut to 23 by May 31.

“Most of his injuries have been trauma injuries,” Hodgson said. “I am not worried about him. Obviously, I think he is a real quality player. He ticks all the boxes. “I had to ask myself certain questions. Is he actually fit now? Yes, he is fit.

“I had to ask myself if he is the type of player who brings something different to the team, a player we do not have an abundance of? The answer was yes. “The third question, well, at top-level competition, in the qualifiers, has he performed? Has he done the job for us? Has he been a very good player? I think three man-of-the-matches in a row would answer that one.

“So, really, to select him in a group of 26 was a very easy thing to do.” Hodgson added: “He is there on merit, he is a special player. We don’t have lots and lots of Jack Wilsheres available.”

England begin their Euro 2016 campaign against Russia on June 12 and they are 2.00 to open the tournament with a win. The Three Lions are 9.00 to win Euro 2016 outright.