Hodgson: Wilshere not fully fit

Roy Hodgson says Jack Wilshere's lack of match practice was the reason for his below-par performance in Kiev.

Last Updated: 11/09/13 at 17:32 Post Comment

Jack Wilshere: In action for England on Tuesday

Jack Wilshere: In action for England on Tuesday

Roy Hodgson says Jack Wilshere's lack of match practice was the reason for his below-par performance in England's goalless draw with Ukraine.

Handed his second start in four days following his 90-minute workout against Moldova on Friday, Wilshere did not enjoy the best of evenings.

The Arsenal man struggled to make an impact on a solid Ukraine defence and his normally forceful passing was completely off radar.

It was no surprise when Wilshere was replaced by Ashley Young midway through the second-half, not that the Manchester United man had much of an impact either.

However, as Hodgson knows only too well, Wilshere did not have the benefit of a full pre-season campaign as Arsene Wenger protected him after two years of problems with ankle and knee injuries.

And that is bound to have had an effect at the Olympic Stadium.

"Jack is still looking for full fitness," said Hodgson.

"That is why we took him off in the second-half.

"We certainly saw a much more effective Jack against Moldova, but he still did his work against Ukraine and, tactically, did all the things I asked of him."

It was not a night for flamboyance that is for sure.

Yet, just as he hoped when his squad gathered at St George's Park at the beginning of last week, England have rediscovered their defensive solidity.

Although some questioned the performance of Kyle Walker at right-back it is an unfair condemnation given his task of closing down Yevhen Konoplyanka was the toughest any England player faced last night.

Ashley Cole was in command on the other side, whilst Gary Cahill produced probably his finest international display alongside Phil Jagielka, who was not far behind.

"All our defenders were really good - and they needed to be," said Hodgson.

"If they had not been, the quality of our opponents, in front of a very fervent home crowd, created conditions that begged for a defeat."

Although Hodgson suggested beforehand Ukraine would be desperate for victory, in the end, another scenario unfolded.

Ukraine, who have a home game against a Poland side teetering on the brink of elimination before a trip to San Marino, will feel the point they collected last night will earn them a play-off berth at worst.

What they will now hope - and England must avoid - is for Montenegro or Poland to spring a surprise when they head to Wembley.

"It was a game where neither side will think they have lost points," said Hodgson.

"Both teams showed they have got the quality to get to the World Cup in Brazil but the major danger, for us and them if we are going to be 100 per cent honest, came from set plays."

Hodgson might have been irritated at the negativity that greeted yet another draw in a group where they have still only beaten Moldova and San Marino, but it was warranted, if not for that one performance alone. Ukraine are not a superpower, but then neither are England.

Shorn of Wayne Rooney's brilliance and the incision of Danny Welbeck, Rickie Lambert ended up isolated, and had Daniel Sturridge not been forced to miss out with a thigh injury, the in-form Liverpool man would surely have been introduced.

As it is, the pressure Hodgson spoke of prior to kick-off will be turned up another notch over the next four weeks.

The manager though is keeping a sense of perspective.

"It's a very tight group and there are a number of teams who can still qualify," said Hodgson.

"We are hoping that it will be us.

"It only becomes a must-win scenario when you know if you don't win you cannot qualify. That would mean being outside the top two.

"If you are second in the group there are always the play-offs

"As far as I am concerned, that is where the must-win scenario will kick in.

"I am rather hoping that won't happen to us."


Sky Bet Free Bet Club: £10 free bet - £5 free every week


Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

I

am jealous but i do wonder why he's never done anything for barca and why they seemingly don't give two hoots that he's leaving. they clearly rate suarez more than him, that much is inarguable

bobsy
Sanchez Is A Game-Changer For Arsenal...

L

uis Suarez: on his way to Barcelona. Liverpool : on their way to the Conference.

wotyomamased
Liverpool agree sale of Suarez

D

aryl Janmaat, a cheaper alternative to Micah Richards? World Cup semifinalist versus Man City's backup, England's... what, fifth choice right back? That really hammers home the English premium.

harry hotspur
The Blank Gossip

Footer 365

World Cup 2014: Netherlands beat Brazil 3-0 in third place play-off

Goals from Robin van Persie, Daley Blind and Georginio Wijnaldum saw Netherlands beat Brazil 3-0 to finish third.

World Cup final: Bastian Schweinsteiger wary of Javier Mascherano's pack of wolves

Germany midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger has compared Argentina to a pack of wolves, with Javier Mascherano its leader.

World Cup final preview: Germany face Argentina in Maracana showdown

A wonderful World Cup will draw to a close at the Maracana as Germany and Argentina battle it out to become champions.

Mail Box

Alexis Sanchez: Really Not THAT Good

The backlash has begun: Why are Barca letting him go if he's any good? We have mails on Alexis Sanchez, Luis Suarez, the World Cup and the wonder of F365...

Stop Your Sobbing And Man Up...

Oh and honey, put the kettle on. We have more World Cup mails but it's mostly an orgasmic explosion at the signing of Alexis Sanchez. Could this be Arsenal's year?

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property