Hodgson hits back at Lineker

England boss Roy Hodgson has hit back at Gary Lineker's attack on his side's performance in Ukraine.

Last Updated: 12/09/13 at 14:04 Post Comment

Hodgson: Wasn't impressed by Lineker's comments

Hodgson: Wasn't impressed by Lineker's comments

England boss Roy Hodgson feels Gary Lineker is ignoring some less than satisfactory performances from his own playing days if he feels justified in launching yet another attack on the Three Lions.

Hodgson might have been delighted with the performance of his players in Tuesday night's 0-0 draw in Ukraine.

It did not meet with Lineker's approval though.

Although the second highest goalscorer in England history has clarified his comments, and insisted he was fully behind Hodgson, who he feels is doing a "good job", it is clear the Three Lions boss is not impressed by Tuesday night's intervention, which followed a scathing attack after the Wembley draw with Republic of Ireland in May.

"I am surprised than anyone who has played for England, captained England and played in games of this nature can be that critical," said Hodgson.

"He has done it for the second time.

"I remember Gary Lineker playing. I remember him captaining the team and playing some great games for England.

"But I am pretty sure he also played in some games where it wasn't that easy.

"I don't think every game he played for the England side was a total success."

Hodgson comes from the standpoint of everyone being entitled to their opinion - but his is the correct one.

"I do my best to placate most times but I have just seen a group of players, missing seven first-team squad members beat Moldova 4-0 and come to Ukraine and draw 0-0," he said.

"You can criticise or praise but don't think you are going to put words in my mouth or get me agreeing with these opinions.

"I have been in football for 38 years. I will stick to my opinions, you can have yours and Gary can have his - as can anyone else for that matter.

"This is the beauty of football.

"There are 60 million opinions out there and I will be a little bit surprised when I am walking down the street over the next few weeks if people aren't actually saying you did well in those two games."

However, Lineker insisted his comments were aimed purely at England's inability to retain possession, a long-standing failing that pre-dates the Hodgson era by some considerable distance.

"Decent result from a team missing a few key players," said the Match of the Day host.

"My only criticism, but it's a crucial one, was the inability to pass the ball accurately. Effort, defence, tactics, spirit, all sound.

"Roy Hodgson can't be blamed for some of England's finest having a bad night. With injured players returning his options will be greater.

"He may play Carrick as he's the only natural holding player we have, as well as our best passer. But who to leave out? Age old dilemma.

"Finally, I'd like to make it clear that I'm fully supportive of Roy and think he's doing a good job. Onwards.."

Having beaten only Moldova and San Marino in their qualifying campaign, yet avoided defeat completely, England are evidently based on being awkward rather than the free-flowing style Hodgson seems to think they are producing.

"If you are prepared to seriously stand there and say the England team I am coaching can't keep the ball and play out from the back or play through the midfield there is no point having a conversation because we just totally disagree," he grumbled.

Neither was there any attempt to explain the reasoning behind keeping Carrick on the bench.

"He didn't play today because we have Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Jack Wilshere," said Hodgson.

"Had Michael Carrick played your question would have been why didn't one of the others play.

"Let's move on from that level of discussion."

Serious thought must now be given to next month's matches against Montenegro and Poland, upon which England's immediate fate will be determined.

The former have been faced three times in the past two qualifying campaigns and on every occasions the contest has ended in a draw.

And no one with any knowledge of England history will need reminding it was a Poland performance at Wembley that turfed them out of the 1974 World Cup.

It is possible England could sneak into an automatic qualification slot with four points.

More likely though, six will be needed.

"It is a tight group," said Hodgson. "I can't deny that.

"We haven't been able to pull away but none of the other teams have been able to pull away either.

"We have our fate in our hands, which is what we wanted.

"I don't think, in any way, we have to apologise for getting a 0-0.

"I am little bit disappointed if people expect us to come here all the time and win comfortably.

"I don't think that has ever happened in the past."


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