Reddin vital to Hodgson plans

Roy Hodgson has spoken of the importance of having a psychologist on his staff as he attempts to end England's penalty jinx.

Last Updated: 10/11/13 at 14:15 Post Comment

Roy Hodgson: Hoping to end England's penalty woe

Roy Hodgson: Hoping to end England's penalty woe

Roy Hodgson has spoken about the importance of having the psychologist who helped Jonny Wilkinson kick England to Rugby World Cup glory on his staff as he attempts to end the national football team's penalty shoot-out jinx.

Dave Reddin may not be a household name, but to former England rugby star Wilkinson and a host of British Olympic stars, he is one of the most valuable coaches around.

Reddin used his sports science expertise to psychologically prepare England's 2003 World Cup team for the task of challenging for the Webb Ellis trophy in Australia.

The 44-year-old's work paid off when, with 26 seconds left, and 83,000 pairs of eyes bearing down on him, Wilkinson held his nerve to score the drop goal that gave England a famous victory over Australia.

Afterwards, Reddin received glowing praise from coach Sir Clive Woodward, as well as an MBE for services to the sport.

"Dave's work with the England players was one of the main reasons behind us winning the Rugby World Cup with the oldest, yet the fittest and most powerful squad in the tournament," Woodward said.

"Winning in the last minute of extra-time says everything about the contribution Dave made to winning in 2003."

Woodward took Reddin to the British Olympic Association (BOA) prior to the London Olympics, where the hosts finished third in the medal table.

The Football Association saw Reddin's success and wasted little time in signing him up to work at St George's Park, where he will start work as 'head of performance services' in February.

Reddin's brief is a wide one, but the most interesting aspect of his remit for England fans will be how he can help Hodgson's squad deal with the pressures of performing in major tournaments - something they have not done well in for a long time now.

Penalties is an obvious area of concern.

Sven-Goran Eriksson revealed in his recently-published autobiography that the biggest regret of his five-year reign as England manager was his failure to introduce a psychologist to help the team cope with the mental challenge of taking penalties under extreme pressure.

Eriksson endured penalty heartbreak on two occasions during his stewardship, but he is by no means the only England coach to have suffered that fate.

Sir Bobby Robson, Terry Venables, Glenn Hoddle and Hodgson have all been victims of the dreaded penalty shoot-out, meaning England have one of the worst records in international football from 12 yards.

Hodgson hopes Reddin will be the man to improve that dreadful record of just one win from seven penalty shoot-outs.

"Dave Reddin is one of the best guys around for helping with that," Hodgson said.

"He has worked with rugby and a large part of their game is the penalty, like with the Wilkinson episode which won us the World Cup."

Hodgson could do little as he watched his team crash out of Euro 2012 following a shoot-out defeat to Italy last year.

He has never employed a psychologist before, but Steve McClaren and Glenn Hoddle were fans of the idea and now the current England boss is too.

"I can't say that the mental side of things played no part in our defeat on penalties (in Euro 2012), I think it plays a major part in football full stop," Hodgson said.

"Football is a thinking game. It's decisions, decisions, decisions.

"Midfielders and strikers might only get 50 or 20 touches a game, so there is an awful lot of thinking and concentration that goes on."

Some clubs prepare for the possibility of penalties by setting up mock shoot-outs in their own stadium, but Hodgson will not do so in the build-up matches ahead of the World Cup.

"Someone had a suggestion that we should have penalty shoot-out after the games against Chile and Germany, but we don't intend to go down that route," Hodgson added.

"I am far from convinced that will be a possibility. FIFA might just have an opinion on that."


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