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Roy Hodgson excited by Arsenal and Man Utd stars’ comebacks

England manager Roy Hodgson. Photo: Nick Potts/PA Wire England manager Roy Hodgson. Photo: Nick Potts/PA Wire

Friday, November 16, 2012
8:10 AM

England manager Roy Hodgson is excited by Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere and Manchester United’s Chris Smalling.

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The Gunners midfielder’s mere presence on the field after 17 months out marked the start of his second international career.

Chris Smalling’s return for Manchester United after injury has been more low key, but in Hodgson’s eyes both are of equal significance.

“The biggest benefit for Jack will be playing well for Arsenal,” he said. “There’s a lot of talent about, (including) a boy at Manchester United called Smalling who I’ve always thought is going to be a top-class centre-half.”

Little wonder Hodgson wore a genuine smile of satisfaction not long after suffering his first defeat as England manager outside of those dreaded penalty shoot-outs.

After all, it has been quite a year.

“I’m in a much better position when it comes to assessing players and knowing what I can get out of an England team than I was on May 13 when I came into the job from West Brom and went straight off to the Euros,” Hodgson said.

“It’s been a very good learning curve.”

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