Hodgson angered by press reaction

04 September 2014 09:46

Roy Hodgson claims his critics are talking "b******s" if they think England are destined for failure under his rule.

Hodgson's patience snapped in the direct aftermath of England's 1-0 victory over Norway, which came in front of a record low crowd of just 40,181.

The England manager, normally a calm and measured man, became irritated when one reporter in his post-match press conference pointed out the hosts had registered just two shots on target. "Don't give me that," Hodgson snapped.

And the former Liverpool manager's mood continued to darken in an off-camera follow-up briefing with the written press.

Hodgson maintained England had played well. They had harried the opposition, dominated possession and created several chances against a difficult opponent, according to the 67-year-old.

Hodgson insisted he had every right to be optimistic about his team's future despite the wave of negativity that followed Wednesday's poorly attended victory, and he used some rather colourful language to make his point.

"I am entitled to be (unhappy) when I get questions about only having two shots on target," the England manager said in a sharp tone.

"You have just seen an England team dominate for 45 minutes against a good opponent, an opponent that's hard to beat and you have seen them work very hard to create chances.

"There was a lot of euphoria before the World Cup. We were getting 75,000 people to see us play Peru, who, with respect, were nowhere near as difficult an opponent as Norway. And now we have 40,000.

"I can't put that right because I can't turn the clock back, but what I can do is analyse what I have seen and judge that through my eyes, and not judge it because someone is going to tell me: 'Well, you only had two shots at goal' because for me, that is absolute f*****g b******s, I'm sorry."

Hodgson thinks the perception of his team will be coloured for quite some time by the poor World Cup campaign, which yielded just one point from three matches.

The national coach warned that without the likes of Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole around, England are short on experience and that the new crop of players he has introduced will take a long time to become established internationals.

"Some of these players are top-class players in the making, but the players are in the making," he said.

"You can't play five or six games for England and be a regular at Liverpool for six or seven months and then be David Beckham.

"You can't be Phil Jones with all the injuries he has had and nail down a place in the Manchester United first team and then become John Terry.

"You can't be Jack Wilshere, who has lost all that football through injury and then all of a sudden be Bryan Robson. Let's be fair on all of these things. That's all I am asking.

"Allow me to be excited about what they can do and allow me to stand up and say I think my team played well at a press conference when I think they have."

Hodgson was at pains to point out he had been severely restricted in his selection by injuries.

Luke Shaw, Ross Barkley, Adam Lallana, Jon Flanagan, Jay Rodriguez and Chris Smalling would have all made a difference had they been been fit, Hodgson argued.

The injury crisis caused Hodgson to hand Fabian Delph and Calum Chambers their debuts on Wednesday, while John Stones made his first England start.

The Everton defender, who prefers to operate at centre-half, looks set to keep his place for Monday's crunch qualifier in Basle.

Another unconvincing display would give Hodgson's critics more ammo, but the England manager does not think he would be taking a risk by starting the 20-year-old at right-back.

"Playing him would not be a gamble at all," Hodgson said.

"His defensive performance was very good (against Norway) but we are not going to get as much out of him going forward as you would out of Kyle Walker, who is an attacking right-back, but he did bring his straw to the water."

Source: PA