Hodgson relaxed over contract talks


Published: Friday 14th November 2014 by The News Editor

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England manager Roy Hodgson is happy to wait until the end of Euro 2016 before starting negotiations over a new contract.

Public support for Hodgson remains relatively strong, despite England’s early exit from the World Cup, and he appears to have the full backing of his players too.

Leighton Baines revealed earlier this week that the whole England squad would be “delighted” if the Football Association extended Hodgson’s contract beyond Euro 2016.

The FA controversially renewed Fabio Capello’s contract prior to the 2010 World Cup – where England flopped – but Hodgson will not insist negotiations begin before the next tournament.

“I would be happy (to wait until the end of Euro 2016),” said the 67-year-old, who could also consider retirement in two years’ time.

“There’s plenty of time. I’m not desperate to have my future secured.

“I’ve had a long time behind me and my future is a lot shorter than my past.

“I’m more than happy with our situation at the moment. If the day comes when a contract is discussed, I’ll think about it then.

“It’s nice for Leighton to say that, but 2016 is my focus.

“I’m very happy with the support I get from the people in the FA and to work with the players.”

England can take a big step towards Euro 2016 by recording their fourth straight qualifying win against Slovenia at Wembley on Saturday.

Preparations for the match have been disrupted by a series of injuries.

Michael Carrick and Andros Townsend pulled out of the squad earlier this week due to groin and ankle problems and on Friday Baines withdrew because of a hamstring injury.

Because of UEFA protocol, Kieran Gibbs is now the only left-back available to Hodgson for the Slovenia game.

Hodgson left Luke Shaw off the 23-man squad list he submitted to UEFA on Friday morning as he intended to rest the Manchester United defender because he has a tight groin.

After Baines suffered his injury, the FA tried to replace the Everton man with Shaw, but were told that would not be possible as the deadline had passed.

“I can’t pretend it’s a great idea (to submit the list) nearly 36 hours before the game,” Hodgson said when asked about UEFA’s rule, which was introduced this summer.

“I was rather hoping that, because it was only 20 minutes after the event and we went straight on to them, that they’d show sympathy for our request. But they said the rule is clear.

“After 11am, when you’ve put 23 names in, you can’t change it. I was going to play Leighton in this game and then send him home, so it is a blow. With Leighton going down, it would have been good for us to have Luke on the pitch.”

On the other side of defence, Nathaniel Clyne looks set to make his England debut at right-back.

Hodgson has no qualms about the Southampton defender’s ability to perform at Wembley.

“He’s been very good. I don’t think he will be nervous,” Hodgson said.

“He is a confident lad. If he plays, I have every confidence he won’t let anyone down.”

Hodgson also has full confidence in goalkeeper Joe Hart.

This time last year Hart was going through the toughest spell of his career.

The former Shrewsbury man was dropped after a series of errors for Manchester City, but Hodgson stood by him.

Twelve months on, Hodgson is glad he took that decision, although he did warn the 27-year-old that competition was increasing for his place.

“I’ve always believed in Joe’s quality,” Hodgson said of the goalkeeper, who has kept four successive clean sheets for England.

“There was a time when he was suffering from a lack of form and people suggested he might not keep his place in the England team, but he never showed that with us.

“Now Fraser (Forster) is getting better, Ben (Foster) has come forward, but, when Joe was under his severest criticism, Ben and Fraser weren’t at the level of form they are today.”

Saturday’s match looks to be a near sell-out, which is good news for the FA, who were concerned about ticket sales in September after just 40,181 turned up to watch England’s first match after the World Cup against Norway.

Published: Friday 14th November 2014 by The News Editor

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