Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 December 2014

Roy Hodgson defends himself against Gary Lineker's claim that he has taken England back into the dark ages

England's captain Ashley Cole is applauded by his manager Roy Hodgson after receiving his 100th cap during the International Friendly match at Wembley Stadium, London
England's captain Ashley Cole is applauded by his manager Roy Hodgson after receiving his 100th cap during the International Friendly match at Wembley Stadium, London.
Giovanni Trapattoni was delighted with the performance of the Republic's young stars
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 29: Ashley Cole of England battles with Seamus Coleman of the Republic of Ireland during the International Friendly match between England and the Republic of Ireland at Wembley Stadium on May 29, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)
Republic of Ireland's Aiden McGeady (right) and England's Frank Lampard battle for the ball
Republic of Ireland's Seamus Coleman attempts to block a shot on goal by England's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (left) during the International Friendly match at Wembley Stadium, London
England's Wayne Rooney (right) and Republic of Ireland's Seamus Coleman battle for the ball during the International Friendly match at Wembley Stadium, London
England's Wayne Rooney (right) and Republic of Ireland's Seamus Coleman battle for the ball during the International Friendly match at Wembley Stadium, London
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 29: Theo Walcott of England holds off Stephen Kelly of the Republic of Ireland during the International Friendly match between England and the Republic of Ireland at Wembley Stadium on May 29, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 29: Theo Walcott of England and James McCarthy of the Republic of Ireland watch the ball during the International Friendly match between England and the Republic of Ireland at Wembley Stadium on May 29, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 29: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain of England tackles Jon Walters of the Republic of Ireland during the International Friendly match between England and the Republic of Ireland at Wembley Stadium on May 29, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 29: Daniel Sturridge of England is stretched off through injury as Roy Hodgson manager of England look on during the International Friendly match between England and the Republic of Ireland at Wembley Stadium on May 29, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 29: Wayne Rooney of England in action during the International Friendly match between England and the Republic of Ireland at Wembley Stadium on May 29, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 29: John O'Shea of the Republic of Ireland holds off Jermain Defoe of England during the International Friendly match between England and the Republic of Ireland at Wembley Stadium on May 29, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 29: Glen Johnson of England is tackled by Aiden McGeady of the Republic of Ireland during the International Friendly match between England and the Republic of Ireland at Wembley Stadium on May 29, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 29: Theo Walcott of England is chased by Aiden McGeady of the Republic of Ireland during the International Friendly match between England and the Republic of Ireland at Wembley Stadium on May 29, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 29: Daniel Sturridge of England takes on James McCarthy of the Republic of Ireland during the International Friendly match between England and the Republic of Ireland at Wembley Stadium on May 29, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Republic of Ireland fans celebrate in the stands after Shane Long scores his side's first goal of the game during the International Friendly match at Wembley Stadium, London
Republic of Ireland's Shane Long (right) celebrates scoring the opening goal of the game during the International Friendly match at Wembley Stadium, London
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 29: Frank Lampard of England scores his team's first goal to make the score 1-1 during the International Friendly match between England and the Republic of Ireland at Wembley Stadium on May 29, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)
Republic of Ireland captain Robbie Keane (left) and England captain for the night Ashley Cole (right) shake hands before kick off during the International Friendly match at Wembley Stadium, London.
England's captain Ashley Cole is applauded by his manager Roy Hodgson after receiving his 100th cap during the International Friendly match at Wembley Stadium, London
Republic of Ireland's Stephen Kelly (right) and England's Theo Walcott (left) battle for the ball during the International Friendly match at Wembley Stadium, London
A green smoke canister is removed from the pitch by a steward during the International Friendly match at Wembley Stadium, London
England's captain Ashley Cole shakes hands with the FA chairman David Bernstein before the International Friendly match at Wembley Stadium, London
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 29: Shane Long of the Republic of Ireland celebrates as he scores their first goal during the International Friendly match between England and the Republic of Ireland at Wembley Stadium on May 29, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 29: Shane Long of the Republic of Ireland celebrates as he scores their first goal during the International Friendly match between England and the Republic of Ireland at Wembley Stadium on May 29, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 29: Shane Long of the Republic of Ireland celebrates as he scores their first goal during the International Friendly match between England and the Republic of Ireland at Wembley Stadium on May 29, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 29: Captain Ashley Cole of England is honoured with his 100th cap as Roy Hodgson manager of England (R) and FA chairman David Bernstein (L) look on prior to the International Friendly match between England and the Republic of Ireland at Wembley Stadium on May 29, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 29: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain of England evades Glenn Whelan and Jon Walters of the Republic of Ireland during the International Friendly match between England and the Republic of Ireland at Wembley Stadium on May 29, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 29: Republic of Ireland players line up prior to the International Friendly match between England and the Republic of Ireland at Wembley Stadium on May 29, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 29: Captain Ashley Cole of England (L) leads out the team in honour of his 100th cap prior to the International Friendly match between England and the Republic of Ireland at Wembley Stadium on May 29, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 29: Captain Ashley Cole of England (L) leads out the team in honour of his 100th cap prior to the International Friendly match between England and the Republic of Ireland at Wembley Stadium on May 29, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 29: England and Ireland fans enjoy the pre-match atmosphere prior to the International Friendly match between England and the Republic of Ireland at Wembley Stadium on May 29, 2013 in London, England
Republic of Ireland fans before the International Friendly match at Wembley Stadium, London
Republic of Ireland fans before the International Friendly match at Wembley Stadium, London
Thomas Murphy and Conor O'Sullivan from Bray in Ireland, outside Wembley Stadium before the International Friendly match at Wembley Stadium, London
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 29: Republic of Ireland fans enjoy the pre-match atmosphere prior to the International Friendly match between England and the Republic of Ireland at Wembley Stadium on May 29, 2013 in London, England
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 29: England fans hold a flag in memory of Lee Rigby prior to the International Friendly match between England and the Republic of Ireland at Wembley Stadium on May 29, 2013 in London, England

Roy Hodgson was last night forced to defend himself against allegations that he had taken England back into the footballing “dark ages”.

 

Gary Lineker had fiercely criticised Hodgson's predictable 4-4-2 system after it produced another ponderous performance in the laboured 1-1 draw with the Republic of Ireland.

“Don't like England playing this system,” Lineker wrote on Twitter, and predicted defeat in Sunday's away friendly against Brazil. “So easy to play against. Brazil will thrash us if we line up the same way. Predictable and dated.”

“Felt tactically England were maturing, but this is a step back to the dark ages of 2 lines of 4.”

Hodgson, of course, defended his team and his tactics, even going as far as comparing them to Borussia Dortmund, German champions of 2011 and 2012 and last weekend's Champions League runners up, who had dazzled Europe with their buccaneering football.

“I thought we played well enough, especially in the second half,” said Hodgson. “The quality of the play was good. I can't be too disappointed with the way we tried to win the game.”

“There's been far too much discussion about systems. We look to find systems. I was asked to do programme notes for Uefa about the systems Bayern and Dortmund had brought to European football, but Borussia Dortmund played 4-4-2 in the same way we played 4-4-2.”

England now head to Brazil for Sunday's glamour friendly in Rio de Janeiro. But they are facing a crisis with their strikers after Daniel Sturridge was carried off with an ankle injury. Neither Jermain Defoe, who came on, or Danny Welbeck, who missed out, are 100 per cent fit and so Wayne Rooney is England's only fully fit striker.

Sturridge has presumed ankle ligament damage after a scan. “A major blow for him, and for us,” Hodgson assessed. “I don't want to say it's a serious injury, but it'll keep him out for a period of time. I don't think anything's broken, but the doctor and the orthopaedic surgeon will have to contact Liverpool.”

Hodgson was left hoping that Welbeck would recover in time to face the five-time world champions. “The swelling in his knee has gone down. It's a question of whether we've got enough time between tomorrow and Sunday whether he plays. It'll be touch and go, but he's not ruled out.”

So Hodgson's options are limited for Sunday. “It looks pretty much as if the 15 players who saw us through this game are going to have to see us through the next game as well.”

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