Belfast Telegraph

There's no room for cynicism in Hodgson's England

By Mark Ogden

Roy Hodgson has claimed England must pursue glory at Euro 2016 with an honest approach after insisting he will not encourage his players to be 'cynical' in order to take a shortcut to success.

Hodgson's 23-man squad travelled to Paris from Luton Airport yesterday ahead of Saturday's Group B opener against Russia in Marseille.

Having qualified for France with a 100 per cent record, followed by victories in four of five friendly games in 2016, Hodgson's team go into the tournament with optimism.

But with Thursday's friendly win against Portugal being marked by a stream of histrionics by the visitors, Hodgson accepts that there may come a time in France when England must overcome similar tactics.

Harry Kane's reaction to being on the wrong end of a head-high challenge by Portugal's Bruno Alves - the defender was sent off - saw the Tottenham forward immediately rise to his feet without attempting to exaggerate the extent of Alves' foul.

And Hodgson admits he has no qualms about his players eschewing the darker arts.

"Portugal committed a lot of challenges and went down on quite a few occasions," Hodgson said. "Unfortunately, that's a very hard thing to teach.

"I think it has to be taught, if it's going to be taught, at a very early age and be part of your culture, but I've said many times I don't think it is part of our culture.

"Harry's first instinct, when he didn't get kicked severely, was to carry on and to try and carry on and do something.

"Some people might say that's laudable, others might say you've got to go down, but I find the cynicism quite a hard thing to coach. The referee still made the right decision.

"There will be occasions that there will be a penalty, the player stays on his feet and maybe then it will be relevant.

"But again, that it is hard for me - also being English - to start trying to teach people a manner of playing which I've never subscribed to and they don't subscribe to."

England will train in Chantilly this afternoon, with Ryan Bertrand due to participate after missing the Portugal game with a muscle strain.

Belfast Telegraph