Roy Hodgson has spoken of his satisfaction with his team selection for his England side’s opening Euro 2016 game against Russia this evening.
‘I feel happy with it,’ stated Hodgson, in reference to his team selection he revealed to his squad this morning. ‘It is not something that has suddenly been sprung upon us over the last few days, it is something which has been emerging certainly over the last six months.’
‘It hasn’t emerged over the last four years or even over two years but certainly over the last six months the team I’ll pick tomorrow and the team I might pick in future games, they’ve been emerging and I feel very comfortable now I know what those players can do on the field and what they can do together.’
England go in to the competition after a good run of wins against France, Germany and Portugal. However, general levels of expectation for the England team seems lower than in previous competitions. Despite this, Hodgson still has worries that the pressure to succeed from fans and the media could have a negative effect on players mindset and performances.
‘We know these players can play football. We see it at their clubs,’ stated Hodgson. ‘My fear as a coach would be that the players take anxiety on to the field, that they’re weighed down when they go out and play and don’t play as well as they like, imagining the headlines.’
‘We try and encourage them to believe in themselves, go out and play the football we’ve been trying to play, and we’ll see what it brings. We hope it brings some good moments and the people back home like what they see.’
There has been some optimistic talk of England ‘doing a Leicester’ and becoming surprise victors at the competition. Can Hodgson’s underdogs end 50 years of hurt?