England manager Roy Hodgson says Ravel Morrison faces a tough challenge to be selected for the 2014 World Cup despite his impressive form for the Under-21's and West Ham United.
Prior to England's senior side securing victory over Poland at Wembley, Morrison scored twice as Gareth Southgate's Under-21's defeated Lithuania 4-0 at Portman Road.
Having secured qualification for Brazil attention has turned to whom Hodgson might entrusted with leading England's 14th World Cup finals campaign, with Morrison and West Bromwich Albion's Saido Berahino among the names mentioned as a potential wildcard selection.
But Hodgson says that the recent emergence of another crop of England youngsters, including Everton's Ross Barkley - who has been included in the last two squads - and the current occupant of the No.9 shirt Daniel Sturridge, makes it difficult for Morrison and co. to force there way in.
"They could (be selected)," Hodgson said. "But at the moment their first task is to get past the youngsters we already have.
"Ravel has done very well as has Saido, but on the other hand Daniel Sturridge has been playing for the national team and Ross Barkley has been very, very impressive in training. If he had played for the U21s he'd be getting the sort of rave reviews that Ravel and Saido have been getting. It won't be easy for them.
"Luckily I've had players who are not only playing for their clubs but are important players," he added. "Sturridge was getting excellent reviews for Liverpool and has brought that with him and done it for us. Danny Welbeck and Andros Townsend, Jack Wilshere and Kyle Walker are the same and long may that continue."
While Hodgson has downplayed Morrison and Berahino's chances, the selection of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for England's Euro 2012 squad - less than a year after his Premier League debut - suggests the manager could be willing to take a gamble.
Following a troubled period at Manchester United, Morrison has found his feet at West Ham scoring four goals in eight appearances this season including against Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League prior to the international break.
His West Ham form earned him a call-up to the England Under-21 squad for the Euro 2015 qualifying double-header against San Marino and Lithuania and a pair of outstanding performances has propelled him to the forefront of Hodgson's thinking.
Such has been his form for West Ham and the furore around his talent that Morrison has been compared with former United midfielder Paul Scholes and ex-England international Paul Gascoigne.
With a core group of 15 players used through much of England's qualifying campaign, Hodgson has a significant gap to fill in the eight months leading up to Brazil.
"I hope I have a tough job in May," Hodgson admitted. "It would be nice not to be chasing around trying to fill the quota. It would be nice to have the problem of who on earth can I leave out because I've got too many," he said.
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