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

H

e made his power play to try and get Sheikhy to raise his wages or trade him to PSG. PSG were probably not interested and he is stuck with no cake and no vacation. @Jay_D> Surely you jest about FFP being real, right? All Platini is doing is making billionaries pay measly fines, so he and his cronies can get rich. If a fool can pay 50 mil for David Luiz, he will happily pay some fine to UEFA. FFP has failed as for it to succeed UEFA had to take it...

Synergy
Toure: I am staying with City

G

uess we can expect Toure's explanation of his behaviour around the same time Pete Townshend publishes his book then.

ceeps
Toure: I am staying with City

D

amn you Yaya, don't scare me like that! I only ate the icing. I didn't eat the soft and scrumptious middle - I will buy you another cake!

MCFC87
Toure: I am staying with City

Footer 365

Transfer News: Manchester United may be out of luck if they hope to sign Kevin Strootman

Roma boss Rudi Garcia says highly rated Dutch midfielder Kevin Strootman will not be leaving for Manchester United.

Transfer news: Sunderland sign Patrick van Aanholt from Chelsea

Sunderland have completed the signing of Holland left-back Patrick van Aanholt from Chelsea on a four-year deal.

World Cup: Argentina fined by FIFA for displaying controversial banner

FIFA have handed the Argentine FA a fine of just under £20,000 after their players displayed a controversial banner.

Mail Box

Are Pre-Season Tours Really A Problem?

Are pre-season tours really a problem? Liverpool went to Australia last summer and it didn't prevent them from having a good season. Plus, thoughts on LvG and keepers...

It Isn't Easy Supporting Spurs, You Know

We have a long mail about the travails of supporting Spurs, plus Friday thoughts on Marko Marin, marketing, victory v beauty, travelling and vanishing sprays...

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