Hodgson not interested in critics

24 November 2013 08:01

Manager Roy Hodgson insists he will not be affected by the negative reaction to the November friendlies and is adamant that England will be in much better shape by the start of the World Cup.

The excitement surrounding England that came about following their World Cup qualification gave way to disappointment last week when the team suffered back-to-back Wembley defeats for the first time in 36 years.

England were booed off after losing to Germany and Chile, and the fans were not the only ones who were unhappy.

Ex-players and pundits were quick to dismiss the Three Lions' World Cup hopes and the back pages will have made for tough reading for the England manager on Wednesday morning.

But, after almost 19 months in the job, Hodgson knows all about being in the firing line and he is not concerned about the flak that will come his way over the next few months.

"I guess I am prepared (for the criticism)," the England manager said.

"People will write what they want to write. They will say what they want to say. But we know what we are doing. We know we are going forward.

"The players were disappointed about (the two results) but does it really concern me for next June? I am not sure it does."

In an often-tense post-match briefing at Wembley, Hodgson bristled at suggestions his "honeymoon period" was now over.

With 24-hour news channels and radio stations now the norm, there is a vast space to fill when it comes to coverage of sport, and in international week, Hodgson knows the form of the English national side, particularly in a World Cup year, is often the main topic of conversation.

The former Fulham manager believes pundits and members of the media got ahead of themselves by lauding his team following the victories over Montenegro and Poland, and he reckons everyone is rushing to read too much in to the results of the past fortnight.

"I am disappointed that there was probably too much euphoria after the October games," Hodgson said.

"I understand that. I never got carried away by that. But I am a little bit disappointed that from the idea that, you want to dismiss everything in 2013 on the basis of two very, very tough matches against two top-class teams with a lot of experimentation going on.

"It is everyone's right to do that, but it is not going to affect me one bit.

"I am not prepared to have that roller-coaster ride that suddenly in October we are fantastic team, we are going to Brazil, we are a magnificent team, and then after these two games, we are not."

Hodgson has had a tough year from some critics.

Gary Lineker said the England manager had taken the Three Lions "back to the dark ages" with his tactics during the draw with the Republic of Ireland in May.

Two months earlier Rio Ferdinand had his say from a TV studio in Qatar, where he went after pulling out of the squad to face San Marino and Montenegro because of a "pre-planned training and medical programme".

Although England were passed off the park against Chile, and did not have a shot on target against Germany, the England manager remains positive ahead of Brazil.

Hodgson picked out Chris Smalling as one of the players who impressed him most during the double-header even though it was the Manchester United defender who was supposed to be marking Per Mertesacker when he headed home Germany's winner on Tuesday.

"We have learned more about some of the younger players. Smalling has more than lived up to my expectations of him so in that respect," said Hodgson, who managed the defender at Fulham.

There was also praise for Joe Hart even though the Manchester City stopper caused a few gasps when he came out to clear a high ball in the second half against Germany and clattered in to Smalling.

"That was a minor thing. You don't get too concerned about that," Hodgson said.

"I thought he played very well. He justified the faith we have shown in him."

Source: PA