Not so long ago Sol Campbell, Rio Ferdinand and Terry were the kind of players at the Three Lions’ disposal - options they would love having conceded four goals in the friendlies with Germany and Holland.
Hodgson bristled at questions about his side’s defensive solidity, pointing at the way the goals arrived, previous matches and overall pattern of play, but accepted there is work to be done at centre-back ahead of Euro 2016.
Asked if he has a bit of a challenge on his hands in central defence, Hodgson said: “We have but I thought (Chris) Smalling’s performance until he came off was very good, for example.
“And I think (John) Stones, who has not played many games recently, showed a lot of assurance and showed signs of the type of player he can be.
“Your point we haven’t got the left-sided one is right but there is nothing I can do about that unless suddenly in the next five weeks some brilliant English left-sided centre-back appears on the scene. I don’t anticipate that.”
Hodgson said it is a “fact of life” there are no English left-sided centre-backs playing at the level of those currently involved, but it was pointed out that former captain Terry fits the bill.
“Yes, who knows,” he said with a laugh. “But I’m not 100% certain that outside of John Terry, who because he retired so long ago he doesn’t feature in my thinking very often, (there is anyone) but I can’t deny that is a valid point.
“He is a left-sided centre-half, although not a left-sided player. He’s a right-footer. He retired four years ago.”
Assuming Terry does not make a shock return, Smalling, Gary Cahill, Phil Jagielka and Stones are the main men jostling for a spot at centre-back.
Stones is enduring a tough time at the moment, with his drop-off in form at Everton compounded by a slip in Tuesday’s 2-1 loss to the Netherlands.
The questions Hodgson faces defensively are different to those about at the other end of the field, thanks to the impressive options at his disposal.
Jamie Vardy’s fine form, like Harry Kane’s, has increased competition and the Leicester striker is pushing to start in France.“We’re happy with him,” Hodgson said. “His task now, first of all, will be to make certain he fires Leicester to a Premier League win. That will be his major goal but as long as he can keep that form, I’m sure he is someone we will be looking forward to seeing in an England shirt for a long time.
“He’s 29 so he’s not a youngster compared to the others, but he’s very young in terms of his top-class playing career. He’s a very fit guy so he’s not going to be burnt out at the age of 31, 32, like some fellas, to be fair, who get into the first-team under pressure at 16, you’ve had 14 years of it. Jamie at 32 will have had four or five years of it.”
Theo Walcott was a player thrown in as a teenager and, while far from burnt out, needs to prove his worth ahead of Euro 2016.
“For Theo, he, like quite a lot of other players, will have to try hard to get back in the Arsenal team otherwise maybe I am not going to be seeing enough of him,” Hodgson said. “But we know Theo Walcott, we know what Theo can do. It will be a balance.”