Hodgson: There's no reason to panic
Roy Hodgson has told fans they should not fear another car crash performance from England at the World Cup despite the poor end to 2013.
Hodgson finally seemed to have cracked it when he brought Andros Townsend into the fold in October and he responded by firing England to the World Cup.
But one month on and it looks like the England manager is back to square one.
Hodgson will spend the next four months licking his wounds after a lack of depth in his squad was easily exposed by Chile and Germany.
Defeat to the second-ranked team in the world may not be the hardest thing to swallow, but the way in which Chile passed, retained possession and finished England off last Friday will have proved difficult viewing for even the most optimistic of supporters.
However hard they try, those supporters will not be able to banish the memories of the 2010 World Cup when England were hammered by Germany in the second round after struggling through the easiest of groups.
When asked whether there was a chance that public confidence in the team would have been affected by recent results, the England manager said: "That is the risk, I suppose. That is what defeats do to you.
"But I think that would be a disappointing attitude.
"I would rather like to think that what we did in qualifying, especially in the latter qualifying games, still gives us some credit and is a reason for optimism.
"I think the way we have used these two games and the number of players we have used in them should not really detract from the fact that we didn't win them and therefore the good performances and good feeling that came in October has suddenly dissipated just because we didn't win these ones.
"We have no reason to panic."
Hodgson was keen to stress this was not an attempt on his part to gloss over the fact his team had just lost their first back-to-back home games since 1977.
"There is work for us to do. We know that," he said.
Hodgson looked at 25 players during the losses to Germany and Chile, with Jay Rodriguez, Adam Lallana and Fraser Forster making their debuts.
England now have only one game - against Denmark in March - before Hodgson names his provisional 30-man World Cup squad on May 13.
Defeat against the Danes would mark the first time England have lost three home games in a row, but Hodgson looks likely to rotate again when the Scandinavian nation come to London in four months' time.
"I might risk a third defeat, but for the game against Denmark, it might be that we actually use players that we need to test out more and that we rest the players who we are 100 per cent certain of," the England manager said.
"That's a possibility. It's more likely than us going into that game, with just one and a half days' preparation thinking: 'Let's get our best XI out on the field'. That might not give me the answers I want for the squad."
Despite the two defeats, the door appears to be closing on the likes of Ravel Morrison, Wilfried Zaha, James Ward-Prowse and Raheem Sterling, who have all been tipped at one time or another to make a late surge into Hodgson's squad.
Hodgson added: "I have been looking for 19 months at players so I don't think there will be too many who come out and surprise me (now).
"It's more a question of concentrating fully on the players I have already watched and know about, and trying to make certain I have a very good grip on those players and where they are form-wise when we come to May."
One plus point for Hodgson, who will discover England's opponents at the World Cup draw on December 6, was goalkeeper Joe Hart's successful return to action.
"I am delighted for Joe," Hodgson said. "He came in for a lot of criticism recently and I am delighted he repaid the faith in him.
"We always thought he was our goalkeeper and he proved that."
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