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.