Hodgson wants more from England


Published: Wednesday 19th November 2014 by The News Editor

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Roy Hodgson thinks there is still room for improvement from his England side despite their post-World Cup resurgence.

England recorded their sixth and most satisfying win since the World Cup on Tuesday night when they beat Scotland 3-1 at Celtic Park.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain opened the scoring and Wayne Rooney added a brace while Andrew Robertson was on target for the Scots, who were out-played in all departments despite the support of the ferocious home crowd inside Parkhead.

Hodgson was left in an optimistic mood following England’s win over their oldest and most bitter rivals, but he thinks there is even more to come from his young squad over the next 18 months in the build-up to Euro 2016.

“We know that in France we’ll have to be every bit as good as this, if not better,” the England manager said.

“We can get better, not least because so many players are so young.

“By France 2016 they will have so many more football matches under their belts.”

Just as he did on his 100th England appearance on Saturday, Rooney played a key role in the win in east Glasgow.

The England skipper nodded a miscued clearance past Craig Gordon two minutes after the restart and he found the net again to kill off the Scots shortly after Robertson had raised hopes of a home revival.

With Danny Welbeck in fine form, and Daniel Sturridge set to return from injury by the next international get together in March, Hodgson feels he has a dangerous strike force available to him.

“It’s not just the goals with Wayne Rooney, is it? It’s his work-rate, his understanding of what we’re trying to do, it’s his influence on the field. But I must also mention Danny Welbeck – I thought he was equally as good,” Hodgson said.

“With those two at the moment we have an interesting duo and a potent attacking force, made even more potent when Daniel Sturridge comes back from injury.”

Hodgson can also take encouragement from the way in which Jack Wilshere has filled the deep-lying midfield role vacated by Steven Gerrard following the World Cup.

Eyebrows were raised when Hodgson deployed Wilshere at the base of a four-man diamond midfield, but he excelled in England’s 2-0 qualifying win in Switzerland two months ago and he did so again in Scotland.

The Arsenal midfielder set Oxlade-Chamberlain up for the first goal with a delicious 40-yard pass which his Arsenal team-mate glanced past David Marshall.

Oxlade-Chamberlain is pleased to see the 22-year-old Wilshere working his magic in the deep-lying role.

“As long as he can get on the ball as much as possible, it is good for him and good for the team because the more he is on the ball, the more magic that happens,” Oxlade-Chamberlain said.

“He is always capable of playing those long balls over the top – there is always a lot of quality from him in that respect – so as forwards we have to keep making the runs and I am sure he will keep finding us.”

For Oxlade-Chamberlain, it was his first international goal since he scored against Brazil in the Maracana last year.

It was also his first headed goal since his days in League One with Southampton.

“The last time I scored a header was about four years ago – Carlisle away, for Southampton,” he said.

“It is only the second header I have scored in my career. There won’t be many more. It is something I do need to improve on.

“It was an instinct finish – I just tried to help the ball on its way. I haven’t seen it back so I don’t know how convincing the contact looked but I definitely touched it so I am happy with that.”

Published: Wednesday 19th November 2014 by The News Editor

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