Roy Hodgson - I don't share the 'doom and gloom' surrounding dismal England summer (From Basingstoke Gazette)
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Roy Hodgson - I don't share the 'doom and gloom' surrounding dismal England summer
11:52am Sunday 11th August 2013 in Sport
Roy Hodgson does not share the "doom and gloom" that has followed another dismal summer for England.
Hodgson will take charge of both senior and Under-21 squads for their respective friendlies with Scotland next week.
The situation is a legacy of Stuart Pearce's exit in the wake of a dismal European Championship campaign at Under-21 level, which was followed, within weeks, by a similarly disappointing Under-20s World Cup.
And though England's last outing at senior level was a creditable 2-2 draw in Rio against a Brazil side that went on to lift the Confederations Cup, they have slid down to 14 in the present FIFA rankings, a legacy of a World Cup campaign in which they have failed to beat any of their major rivals.
If that statistic is not altered over the next couple of months, England's place in Brazil next year will be in jeopardy.
Yet Hodgson remains upbeat about the national game.
"I don't share the doom and gloom and I don't have the energy to put up all the arguments I could to defend the criticism," he said.
"Having been hit by the obvious facts that we did not do well in either of the two tournaments I can't sit here and say everything is hunky dory.
"Having said that, we did qualify. A lot of good teams did not.
"But we are disappointed. We had high hopes for both teams.
"Tournament football is a bit like that though and sometimes people extrapolate a little bit too much."
The paucity of talent at Hodgson's disposal has been highlighted by his decision to include 31-year-old Saints talisman Rickie Lambert in his squad for Wednesday's encounter with Scotland at Wembley.
Lambert has spent most of his career in the lower leagues, yet given doubts over the fitness of Wayne Rooney, Jermain Defoe and Danny Welbeck, could find himself thrust into the spotlight as England's number one forward next week despite having just one top flight campaign behind him.
"It depends how gloomy you want the picture to be. Don't forget, there is no Daniel Sturridge here. He is back in training. There is no Andy Carroll. He is but it is not miles away.
"How many forwards do you want? We have not been in the situation where England could choose from 15 top quality forwards for several years. We are not going to be in that situation in the very near future.
"What is important is to make certain we look after and cherish the players we have to get the best out of them."
And for all current group leaders Montenegro are lauded, Hodgson does not view their situation as being any better.
"They have two very good forwards, (Mirko) Vucinic who plays for Juventus and has a transfer value of £30million and (Stevan) Jovetic, who has just been transferred to Manchester City for £25million.
"That is £55million-worth of talent. I don't know what they have after that. I would very much doubt there is a Vucinic 2 and a Jovetic 3."
Hodgson's work is made all the harder due to the needs of the Premier League clubs.
Withdrawals can be anticipated this weekend therefore, with minor injuries being protected ahead of the opening round of league fixtures, whilst next month's encounters with Moldova and Ukraine will be immediately preceded by blockbuster domestic fixtures involving Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham.
Those four clubs represent 15 of the 25 players Hodgson selected on Thursday.
And whilst there was certainly some resentment at the FA over the Premier League arranging such key games ahead of an international break, Hodgson was bemused at reports he was personally furious about it.
"I hadn't opened my mouth," he said.
"I don't know how you can be furious about a decision when you have never spoken to anyone about it.
"This is the first time anyone has asked me about it. Not only am I not furious about it, I am totally accepting of the situation.
"I don't expect the Premier League to tailor their fixtures around the national team. They choose their fixtures when they wish to choose them and Sky, who pay a lot of money to the Premier League, pick out the fixtures they want.
"I don't have any problem with it all. Not once have I expressed any anger or fury. No-one will ever find a quote from me to that extent.
"I think I might have been used in that way."
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