Hodgson pleads for patience

21 October 2012 09:17

Roy Hodgson has identified Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Raheem Sterling as three obvious England candidates for the two forthcoming friendlies - but there are no easy answers to their continued failure to keep possession.

The passing frailties that caused so much difficulty at Euro 2012 came back to haunt the Three Lions in Poland on Wednesday. Even Hodgson admitted it was not pretty, but the England coach was in defensive mood when he came to the issue of addressing what to do about it.

"People highlight that if we're going to be a really top team we're going have to consistently improve the level of our technique," he said. "Let's hope St George's Park will help a little bit along the way."

He added: "But it's a little unfair to ask us to win yesterday. We can only win tomorrow. We can only push forward tomorrow. Maybe the level of our technical performance wasn't as good. It's something we have got to be aware of and keep working at, but we can't keep (being critical) every time we don't reach the heights.

"Albeit against lesser opposition (San Marino), on a lovely Wembley pitch like a billiard table, where the ball was zipping about, there were some very good technical performances on Friday.

"And if you watched the Ukraine game again you might be quite impressed by some of the football we played. But the result decides everything and suddenly that wasn't a good performance."

On a pitch under water in parts 24 hours earlier, Hodgson believes even Spain would have struggled to look good. And he doesn't believe any comparisons with the world and European champions are accurate - or fair.

"Let's not idealise and say it won't ever happen to Spain," he said. "Spain didn't get rave reviews in their match against Portugal at the Euros from what I remember.

"We didn't see Spain v Poland on Wednesday. It would have been interesting to see what they would have done.

"The other thing we have to accept is Spain have been doing it for the last six years and have got a team that's been playing together at club and international level for a long time. They have three fantastic trophies behind them. We're still trying to win a trophy 50 years after the last one."

Source: PA