Hodgson admits ‘headache’ over misfiring strikers

Date published: Wednesday 22nd June 2016 8:57

Roy Hodgson accepts none of his strikers have made an indisputable case to lead the line in the Euro 2016 knockout stage as pressure mounts on the England boss.

Hodgson has found himself in the spotlight after Monday’s frustrating goalless draw with Slovakia saw England pipped to top spot in Group B by Wales and end up in the same half of the draw as hosts France, holders Spain and world champions Germany.

The 68-year-old made six changes to his starting line-up and his decisions have reportedly gone down badly with the FA hierarchy, endangering the coach’s chances of staying on after the tournament.

Hodgson’s situation will undoubtedly be helped the further England go in France, but that could depend on him finding the right formula in attack.

He included five finishers in his squad, augmented by wide forwards Adam Lallana and Raheem Sterling, but has yet to find the best combination up front.

England created a tournament high of 65 chances in Group B, but converted only three of those.

Lallana started all three matches but has yet to register his first international goal, while Harry Kane and Sterling began in the side before making way for Jamie Vardy and Daniel Sturridge.

The latter pair were effective off the bench against Wales, both scoring in a stirring second-half comeback, but less so in the stalemate with Slovakia.

To further muddy the waters, record scorer Wayne Rooney has been converted into a midfielder and 18-year-old Marcus Rashford remains something of a wild card.

“That could also be a headache we have to deal with because all of them have shown a lot of qualities in the games but none of them, as yet, have really shown they are able to score the goals we need,” admitted Hodgson.

“We will have the headache of trying to decide which strike force we’re going to use.

“I thought Lallana, Sterling and Kane did very well against Russia but in the second game, when we weren’t scoring goals, I gave Vardy and Sturridge a chance and they scored goals and won the game for us.

“(They) kept their place in the team…who knows what happens next time?”

The final verdict will only be once England’s tournament is over but Hodgson is clear that he retains faith in the firepower at his disposal.

“I think all of these guys are scorers,” he said.

“The fact is at the moment because we haven’t scored many, sometimes there’s very difficult questions to defend.”

Hodgson also remains bullish about his selection against Slovakia.

“I never have regrets if the team has played well,” he said.

“I look at the way the team played and I don’t honestly believe any players I could have put out there would have done a lot different to the ones that actually played from the start or came on in the game.”

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