Hodgson has told potential successors that now is the time to prove themselves.
Following the retirement of Rio Ferdinand from international football on Wednesday, England manager Roy Hodgson has told the young English defenders they need to step up.
Despite the fact Ferdinand has not played for his country for nearly two years, Hodgson believes it signals the end of an era and gives new players the opportunity to show they are worthy of a national place.
“He [Ferdinand] has been a fantastic servant to the country, a fantastic servant to his club and has had a glittering career,” the Three Lions boss said on the FA’s website.
“Let’s concentrate on the future, let’s concentrate on the younger players who have had to stand back for a long period of time.
“It’s their opportunity to get hold of an England shirt and show they’re good enough to wear it.”
There are a host of England centre-backs vying for a place in the starting XI currently, as the lack of form and fitness shown by John Terry this season has also made his inclusion uncertain of late.
Everton’s Phil Jagielka, Chelsea’s Gary Cahill and Manchester United duo Phil Jones and Chris Smalling have all been used by Hodgson in the last 12 months.
With the Three Lions playing two international friendlies within the next 17 days, against Ireland and Brazil, there is an instant opportunity for any of the front-runners for central defence to claim their credentials for a permanent position.
Ferdinand finishes his career with England after 14 years and 81 caps.