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Hodgson insists he won't beg for a new England deal as FA deny having doubts

By Ian Herbert

England manager Roy Hodgson has told his Football Association bosses that he will not "beg" for an extension of his contract beyond the European Championships, as the governing body's chief executive Martin Glenn last night rejected claims that there were doubts about the six team changes for the stalemate against Slovakia.

In a trenchant and indignant defence of his work with the national team, Hodgson has indicated that he does not consider himself to be at the governing body's mercy after the tournament and that he is prepared to continue in the role, rather than walk away.

"I'm not begging for the job," Hodgson said. "I am prepared to carry on. It is different to wanting it. I'm prepared to carry on if the FA want me to. If they don't want me to then my contract will have run out and that is how that will be.

"I believe in what I've done in particular over the last couple of years. I believe in the team I am working with and believe the team is showing such potential that it will go on and do good things and if the FA want me to continue with me looking after them I will be happy to do so."

Glenn insisted that neither he or chairman Greg Dyke had any problem with Hodgson's wholesale changes for the Slovakia match and that he had their "total support."

Glenn said: "I don't know where these stories are coming from. They don't come from me. They don't come from the chairman. He has our full support, he has been a great manager and I think we are going to do great things in this tournament. We want to see progress, that is all we have said all along. This is a building team. We should turn up to every tournament being prepared to win it."

Defeat to Iceland in Nice in England's round of 16 match today would render Hodgson's position untenable but he described the suggestion that it was unfair to be judged on one game as a "stupid comment". He said: "I am not prepared to go into that. I've been working for 40 years, don't ask me those sort of questions. So don't ask me to make stupid comments like that."

Hodgson is expected to change England's attacking options again, by returning Harry Kane to the starting line-up at the expense of Jamie Vardy, relegated to the bench. But Daniel Sturridge is expected to retain his place ahead of Raheem Sterling.

The England boss was also keen to prevent what he called "salacious" questions about a rift between Wayne Rooney and Vardy.

There had been reports the England captain was irritated by the profile Vardy's wife, Rebecca, had been taking during the Euros with her writing a newspaper column and tweeting continuously.

When Rooney was asked about this, Hodgson sprang to his defence. "I will answer for Wayne. There are no problems between Wayne Rooney and Jamie Vardy. They are good friends and this is a salacious story that has been spun."

Rooney was, however, prepared to talk about Sterling's state of mind. Pep Guardiola, his new manager at Manchester City, phoned Sterling after he learned the forward had been hurt by the savagery of the criticism of his performances against Russia and Wales.

"From what I have seen, his state of mind is fine," said Rooney. "He has been normal around the camp and on the training pitch, he has been fantastic, sharp, taking players on and scoring in training."

Although both sides know they will be playing for a place against France in the quarter-finals in Paris, Hodgson admitted he had not seen the hosts' narrow 2-1 win over the Republic of Ireland.

He said: "We were in the air at the time. We left our hotel at 2.30pm and got to Le Bourget at three, followed the first five minutes in the lounge and when we got off the plane the final whistle had just blown. It would be an honour to play France but Iceland have the same ambition.

"We desperately want to stay in the tournament. We think we're good enough, but we need results. There can be no more draws, it is win or go home."

Belfast Telegraph