England manager Roy Hodgson has said that he wants his stars to be available for the friendly matches against the Republic of Ireland and Brazil at the end of the season. England will be playing against Ireland in the final week of May, while Brazil will be the opponents at the iconic Maracana stadium in Brazil just before the start of the Confederations cup. There have been growing concerns about the number of matches that players have been playing in recent months. As a result, a number of the high profile players have pulled out of recent friendly matches.
Hodgson does not want a repeat of this situation ahead of the crucial matches. He has said that the stars should not excuse themselves from the friendly matches if they want to be part of the England team. A number of the top teams from England will be having international commitments as part of their promotions. They are unlikely to be happy with losing their star players for meaningless friendly matches. Hodgson has been facing criticism from the media after a number of poor performances since he has taken over.
Hodgson’s team have been able to win only against minnows like San Marino and Moldova. They are currently second in the group stages.
“We didn’t win in Monte-negro because we didn’t retain possession and dominate the midfield in the second half as well as we did in the first 45 minutes. It’s no more complicated than that. But our ball retention wasn’t too bad against San Marino or in our previous game against Brazil, so I refuse to accept that because we didn’t play so well for 45 minutes, that it’s suddenly all about ball retention. Every time a team has a period when they don’t play to the very high levels of expectations,” said Hodgson.
England are currently second in the World Cup qualifying group, but the manager Roy Hodgson has said that he is extremely confident that he will be top of the group by the end of the campaign. He has also said that he will settle for nothing less than winning the group. Hodgson said a few weeks ago that he believes that England have the ability to win the World Cup for the first time since 1966. The arrival of new players like Jack Wilshere and Danny Welbeck has rejuvenated the England team, which has suffered several exits in high-profile competitions at early stages.
England once again showed their renewed confidence in the recent friendly match against Brazil. Despite coming up against the five-time world champions, England played a lot of good football throughout the match. They also managed to win the match 2-1, which was their first victory over Brazil in more than two decades. This run of good results has led to the manager saying that he believes England will be able to win the group comfortably. The World Cup qualifying matches for England will resume with away trips against San Marino and Montenegro in the month of March.
Montenegro have made a great start to the World Cup qualifying campaign.”We are trying to win the group. What I might have said is if we don’t win the group, we will try and win the play-offs. But there is no question of us taking a play-off route. We were the top seeds in the group. We are seeded to win it. It doesn’t always happen of course. All teams like ourselves accept the responsibility and will do our best,” said Hodgson. England, though, have had just two victories in the last five matches in all competitions under Roy Hodgson.
Roy Hodgson is to create a code of conduct that he expects his players to stick to during the European Championships. The FA will help him compile the document which will outline their expectations of the players along with the warning that anyone caught breaking it will be putting their England future in jeopardy.
Hodgson’s expectations were simple and clear enough. “Not only do I expect them to behave as adults, I am going to demand it.” He has pointed to the controversy that surrounded the England Rugby Union team on their recent World Cup campaign. A disappointing display on the field was made all the more frustrating by a series of incidents off the pitch.
England will be staying close to the centre of Krakow and Hodgson realises that his players are going to be coming into contact with members of the public on a regular basis and they will be under constant observation from fans of all competing nations. The 2010 World Cup saw England staying out in Rustenburg, two hours outside of the nearest major city of Johannesburg after criticisms of their behaviour in the more central base of Baden Baden in 2006 – Wayne Rooney’s wife Colleen was blamed the most.
Hodgson has stressed that he does not intend to keep his players locked up or stop them from enjoying the experience of visiting a country that many of them will have not experienced before. He is stressing the importance of them behaving well when they are out and about, he is fully aware that people with camera phones will be everywhere, ready to capture any misdemeanours on camera to pass on to the world’s press.
Hodgson is keen to give his players freedom to enjoy themselves, to stay relaxed and to “see something else other than their room-mates, me and the coaching staff” during their down time. Captain Steven Gerrard agreed with the new code.