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Emirates watching brief for Hodgson

18 Oct 2013 13:01:57

Emirates watching brief for Hodgson

Roy Hodgson will head to Arsenal on Saturday as he begins the long process of piecing together his World Cup squad - but he knows preparations cannot begin properly until after the finals draw in Bahia on December 6.

The England manager will be interested to see how Gunners left-back Kieran Gibbs and Norwich goalkeeper John Ruddy perform at the Emirates Stadium, given he has already stated next month's friendlies against Chile and Germany will be an opportunity for some fringe members of his squad to impress.

For all Hodgson knows, the fixtures - on November 15 and 19, respectively - could be warm-ups for the real thing given both are potential group-stage opponents next summer.

It is only when he knows who England play, where, and how much travelling will be involved, that Hodgson's masterplan can begin to take shape.

"Thoughts are swirling around in my head already but we won't be able to start really serious preparation until after December 6," he told www.fatv.com.

"There is a lot of time ahead to think about the detailed planning of going to play a tournament in Brazil, which will be very different to preparing for the Euros.

"I trust in the expertise of the FA to make certain when it comes to the detailed planning we will get it right."

Confirmation from FIFA on Thursday that England have missed out on a top seeding has brought a positive spin-off.

The Three Lions will not be able to face Italy, who will be in the same 'European' pot if FIFA follows recent precedent, nor Holland should Uruguay come through their play-off with Asian representatives Jordan.

There is a potential nightmare scenario, though.

If Uruguay make it through, aside from top seeds - Spain, Germany, Belgium and Switzerland - it would leave nine European qualifiers to fit into the eight groups.

Faced with the same scenario in 2006, FIFA put the lowest-ranked European team into a special pot and placed them in the same group as a non-European seed.

It ended with Serbia and Montenegro being paired with Argentina, Holland and Ivory Coast.

This time around, France could easily end up in the same position given they have not been seeded for the play-off draw.

If they were to end up in the same pool as Brazil or Argentina, then England get dropped in as well, Hodgson's task of merely getting out of the group would be made immensely difficult.

Nevertheless, the 66-year-old has delivered on his part of the bargain, namely actually qualifying during the Football Association's 150th anniversary celebrations.

"I am pleased about that," Hodgson said. "It would have been a dampener had this been one of the years when we didn't qualify. It doesn't happen that often, but it has happened.

"One hundred and fifty years is well worth celebrating and a World Cup in Brazil is something else."


PA

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