Hodgson vows to attack but not go gung-ho
England manager Roy Hodgson vowed to go on the attack against World Cup first round opponents Italy as his team touched down in Brazil here Sunday.
Hodgson's team was roundly criticised for a perceived negative approach during their Euro 2012 campaign in which they crashed out on penalties in the quarter-finals after being dominated in a lacklustre 0-0 draw with the Italians.
But this time around, Hodgson says they won't be afraid to have a go when beginning their Group D campaign against the Azzurri in Manaus on Saturday, although not at the expense of keeping a mindful eye on their defensive duties.
"I'd like to win it (the Italy clash)," said Hodgson on the English Football Association's website.
"When we get the ball we are going to go for it, we are going to attack. We are going to encourage our attacking players to do what we do.
"But we are also going to make it clear to them that they can't go gung-ho at any time. At all times you've got to be thinking, 'What happens if it doesn't work out? Are we protected?"
The Italy team England lost to in Kiev two years ago was not then considered one of the country's finest but they proved a cut above Hodgson's team that day.
However, the England manager claims his side has improved since then and is not hamstrung by injury absences.
"We lost four very important players and we had to draft in replacements, but of course two years down the line working with a large body of players regularly and enjoying some success during that time because of the qualifying campaign, that definitely helps you," he added.
"The emergence of these very exciting players who have incredible pace and have good physical power and they have also got good technique."
Players such as Everton midfielder Ross Barkley, Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling and Southampton pair Luke Shaw and Adam Lallana, have brought a breath of fresh air, as well as pace and skill, to the England team.
But Hodgson warned against over-reliance on inexperienced players.
"I am just a bit concerned there is a mood at the moment that 'let's get rid of everyone who is not 18 or 19 years of age' and go flying at the opposition from the start," he said.
"It's a balance and one of the things we work on on a regular basis is getting the right balance between the defending and the attacking and when you are attacking, making sure you cover yourself against counter attacks which we didn't always do that brilliantly."
After facing Italy, England play Uruguay on June 19 and Costa Rica five days after that.
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