Belfast Telegraph

Roy Hodgson's failed gamble dents new England contract hopes

By Mark Ogden

Roy Hodgson's selection gamble against Slovakia has damaged his prospects of earning a new contract as England manager with senior figures at the Football Association bemused and exasperated by the wholesale changes which resulted in the team failing to top their Euro 2016 group.

England will face the runners-up in Group F - Portugal, Austria, Hungary or Iceland - in a second round tie in Nice next Monday after finishing second in Group B following the goalless draw against Slovakia in Saint Etienne.

While the FA hierarchy remain confident about the prospects of progressing to the last eight, regardless of the opposition on the Cote d'Azur, the failure to defeat Slovakia and win the group has left England on course for a quarter-final clash with hosts France at the Stade de France.

More: Roy Hodgson's gamble fails and England now have France and Germany in their path

Had England topped the group, the route to the semi-finals would have been less perilous and senior figures within the FA now fear that Hodgson's decision to make six changes - including resting captain Wayne Rooney - to his team against Slovakia has jeopardised England's hopes of reaching the last four and potentially winning the tournament.

Hodgson is out of contract at the end of Euro 2016 and, although the 68-year-old is understood to be keen to remain in charge until the 2018 World Cup in Russia, no talks have yet taken place over a new deal.

And Hodgson's future was placed in further doubt ahead of the game in Saint Etienne with FA chairman Greg Dyke - who will leave his post this summer - claiming that the former Liverpool and Fulham manager would only be certain of a new contract should England reach the semi-finals.

Meanwhile, Wales have never been in a penalty shoot-out, but if they require one at Euro 2016 they will be ready. Manager Chris Coleman revealed his players have been practicing them ever since they arrived in France and did so of their own volition.

"We won't need to tell them to practice them because they have been doing it all along", said Coleman, as thoughts turned to his team's second round tie in Paris on Saturday.

With their opponents still to be determined the potential for tactical work will be limited but after topping Group B after their easy 3-0 defeat of Russia Wales will not lack confidence.

Belfast Telegraph