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Hodgson - England can do it

18 Nov 2013 18:46:54

Hodgson - England can do it

England boss Roy Hodgson has every belief that his side can claim the prized scalp of Germany in Tuesday night's friendly at Wembley.

Hodgson plans to make nine changes from the XI which began Friday night's 2-0 defeat to Chile to play against a side fancied by many to be in contention for World Cup glory in Brazil next summer.

"We will be doing our level best to send them home empty handed," Hodgson said.

"I fully believe we've got a great group of players. I believe in the team. I believe in what we're trying to do as a team.

"If you're going to prove you're as good as any opponent, there's only one way to do it. It's on the field. We're all fully aware of that."

Unusually, Hodgson revealed his starting line-up on the eve of the match after hosting a rare full open training session.

Joe Hart, who is under much scrutiny, starts in goal, while captain Steven Gerrard is set to make his 108th appearance, equalling World Cup-winning skipper Bobby Moore's haul of caps.

There are just two survivors from the team which lost to Chile in Wayne Rooney, who starts up front alongside Daniel Sturridge, and Southampton's Adam Lallana, who did enough on his debut to earn a second cap.

Hodgson admits Germany are an established power, while England are more a work in progress.

"We've got it all to do," Hodgson said.

"They've got a lot to do as well, because, at the moment, I believe they and Spain are the two absolute favourites, out of the Europeans, to win the World Cup.

"There's pressure on them, maybe in a different way. Our pressure is to try to show we're a team.

"The pressure's off in the sense it's not a qualifying game, it's not a tournament game.

"It's a game where all the players are trying to show how good they are and what a good team they're playing for. That often makes for a very good game."

One of the subplots which has emerged ahead of a match which will be friendly in name only is Hodgson being approached by the German Football Association in 1998 to be boss.

"It was a nice approach and, of course, a very flattering approach," Hodgson said.

"But it's a long time ago. That's better left. They've certainly got on pretty well without me."

Hodgson will bid to show England are in rude health too and has backed Hart to show his status as first-choice goalkeeper is intact despite a series of high-profile errors which have resulted in him being demoted by Manchester City.

Hodgson said: "We've had no cause to doubt him during these very, very important qualifying games we've had, and also in the Euros.

"In 14 very, very important games, we're unbeaten in 14 and we've only let in seven or eight goals in those 14 so I think he's entitled to feel confident to pull on the England jersey.

"We're all behind him, we all think he's a very good goalkeeper and we expect him to play well on Tuesday night."

Hodgson also has confidence in the attacking pair of Rooney and Sturridge, who starts following a thigh injury to reform a partnership which served England well in the decisive World Cup qualifying wins over Montenegro and Poland.

"I'm probably looking forward to it more than the German defence will be looking forward to it," said Hodgson, who insisted Sturridge is fit and that his early departure from training was to give Rickie Lambert an opportunity.

"I do think those two players could carry a lot of responsibility going forward for our attacking threat, because they have such enormous potential.

"Hopefully there will be others breathing down their necks but I was really happy with those last two qualifying games when the pressure was on us and we had to get results."

The prospect of three games a week in the Brazilian heat and humidity means Hodgson will have to utilise his full 23-man squad at the finals.

Of Friday's debutants, only Lallana remains in the side, with Hodgson keen to have another look at him in the injury enforced absence of Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Danny Welbeck in a bid to create further competition for places.

"He is one that has spent less time with us and it is more important that I get a longer look at him," Hodgson said.

"The competition for places is really hotting up. That's how it should be and that's why we're in this fortunate position to choose almost two totally different teams, one to play against Chile last Friday and one to play against Germany now on Tuesday."


PA

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