Hodgson ‘not prepared to accept’ England criticism

Date published: Thursday 2nd June 2016 11:07

Roy Hodgson: Refused to criticise England players

England manager Roy Hodgson refused to criticise his players after they scraped past 10-man Portugal in their final warm-up match ahead of Euro 2016. 

England played the majority of the match at Wembley against 10 men after Portugal centre-back Bruno Alves was sent off for a dangerous challenge on Harry Kane, but Hodgson’s side failed to break the deadlock until the 86th minute when Chris Smalling guided a header past Rui Patricio to clinch the win for England.

Despite a starting XI featuring Wayne Rooney, Kane, Jamie Vardy and Dele Alli, England rarely troubled a strong Portuguese defence and found themselves often frustrated in their final warm-up match.

Hodgson introduced Jack Wilshere and Raheem Sterling early in the second half, and it was Sterling who provided the perfect cross for Smalling to head the winner, scoring his first international goal.

Despite England’s performance not living up to expectations, the England boss refused to be drawn upon criticism of his players, claiming his side put in a good performance.

Speaking after the match, Hodgson said: “I’m not prepared to accept that we didn’t play well.

“We looked good, we had composure throughout the game and it would have been better to play against 11. I’m very pleased with three wins, we never looked like conceding a goal.

“I’m not prepared to add my voice to the debate. We need all of our players playing well. In every game some people have a really good night, I’m not prepared to stand here and criticise some players.

“If I start being dissatisfied with three wins against Australia, Turkey and Portugal I’m going to be a hard coach to satisfy.”

Hodgson admitted the red card disrupted his preparations in the final warm-up match, with Portugal playing the majority of the match a man down.

 “It is often a struggle when you play against 10 men. We would have preferred a 11 v 11 game, to flow more in attack and in defence,” he added.

“We were on the ball and trying to find the way through a packed and well-organised Portugal defence.

“I am pleased we kept our composure and patience,  pleased with the clean sheet. The longer the game wore on, we looked more dangerous, looked as if we could score the goal. The result came from a long period of sustained pressure.

“The players worked hard to keep their shape and build attacks. It is our third win and one against a Portugal team ranked higher than us in the Fifa rankings, so no reason to be dissatisfied.”

Hodgson also claimed he is still yet to decide on his starting line-up for the opening game of Euro 2016 against Russia.

He said: “Have I decided my best 11? That is difficult and will depend on the night.

“I am happy I have got 16/17 good players and happy with the options available to us.”

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