Hodgson trusts England players

Roy Hodgson knows England expects tonight against Montenegro - and he has complete faith in his players to deliver.

Last Updated: 11/10/13 at 07:05 Post Comment

Roy Hodgson: 'I trust the players and I believe in them'

Roy Hodgson: 'I trust the players and I believe in them'

Roy Hodgson knows England expects - and he has complete faith in his players to deliver.

Hodgson's team entertain Montenegro at Wembley knowing victory could virtually seal a berth in next summer's World Cup finals if Poland were to beat Ukraine.

There are other scenarios, some of them not very palatable at all.

Yet despite a record of three successive draws against Montenegro, and the knowledge his team have not beaten any of their major Group H rivals so far, the 66-year-old is convinced England are on the brink of something special.

"I trust the players and I believe in them," he said.

"I know how determined they are to do the job.

"People do doubt sometimes. They can quote the statistics. We haven't had a marquee result. The one we had was the friendly against Brazil at home, or the draw away, but you can't have a marquee result in a friendly.

"But we are a long way forward compared to how I felt 18 months ago.

"This is a perfect opportunity to prove that and improve the mood.

"The nation wants us to be in Brazil. They expect us to get them to Brazil.

"It cannot come quickly enough and we'll be ready for it."

Hodgson must hope his own conviction transmits itself through to his players as he knows his entire career could end up being defined by what happens over the next two matches.

Should England march on - and four points from the final two games, against Montenegro and Poland next Tuesday, could well be enough - Hodgson's legacy as a decent coach will be secure, with the prospect of greater accolades lying ahead.

However, failure will leave him bruised, battered and, quite possibly, out of a job.

"Taking on the role as manager of an England team is a big responsibility," he said.

"We are one of the big nations. We are expected to qualify for World Cups and European Championships.

"If that doesn't happen, you'll get criticism. If you're wise, you realise there'll be criticism during qualifying as well.

"How does anyone stay sane? The training sessions lift me.

"It is two great games and it can be four very good days. That is what I am anticipating."

Hodgson knows his team, although, for now, he is keeping it to himself.

Hints will emerge though, not least when the unlucky ones start to get singled out.

"It's one of the hardest selection weeks," he said.

"There are so many senior players available who haven't always been there and the younger ones aren't just here to learn the ropes.

"I've had to give it a lot of thought, but it's clear in my head.

"I fear I will (break hearts). There is no easy way.

"People are as enthusiastic as you want them to be, but when you tell them they're not in it's hard.

"I take the more experienced players to one side, if I can.

"You can't do it with the newer members of the squad, who might not have the same aspirations to play, but if you're counting on playing; they are the ones I take aside."

Hodgson could not have asked for a better build-up.

Montenegro are out of form and riddled by injuries. Peace has been made with his critics, some of them anyway, and his own squad, Ashley Cole, Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain apart, is as he wanted it.

Should disaster strike, there can be no excuse. Not that a decent man like Hodgson would have offered one anyway.

"I would be saddened to think my time as national coach has been riddled with excuses," he said.

"We've taken responsibility all along. We're not looking for excuses.

"We're ready for it. We believe in ourselves, trust in each other, have the right determination and motivation.

"What more can I say to describe where we are?"


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