Tuesday 20 March 2018

Hodgson refuses to coach England in football's dark arts

England Manager Roy Hodgson. Photo: Tim Goode/PA Wire.
England Manager Roy Hodgson. Photo: Tim Goode/PA Wire.

Jeremy Wilson

Roy Hodgson says he cannot bring himself to coach his England players to cheat their way to success at the European Championship finals

England travel to their training base in Chantilly in northern France today ahead of their first game against Russia next Saturday.

But, even though England have been victims of the dark arts in international football in the past, Hodgson has no plans to work on the cynical side of the game.

Harry Kane epitomised the English spirit by trying to play on after getting kicked in the head by Bruno Alves during last week's final Euro 2016 warm-up game, which earned the Portugal defender a red card.

Kane's Tottenham Hotspur team-mate Eric Dier, who grew up in Portugal, last month claimed England must adopt the dark arts in France, but 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 and I've said many times I don't think it is part of our culture.

"Harry Kane's first instinct when he didn't get kicked severely was to carry on and to try and carry on and do something with the ball. Some people might say that's very laudable, others might say you've got to go down, you've got to be cynical. I find the cynicism quite a hard thing to coach.

"I won't be spending my coaching time teaching players to stay down or feign injury. I want to teach players how to defend better, attack better and that's what I've been trying to do for four years and will continue to do so."

They may be landing on the anniversary of D-Day, but when England disembark in Chantilly, they will be in anything but enemy territory.

First, the players will have to check into the Auberge du Jeu de Paume, their £500-per-night hotel for Euro 2016. But if they can drag themselves away from the spa and two Michelin-starred restaurant, the squad will find the town has a lot to take their minds off the job, and in many ways is a home from home.

At the English Shop, barely 50 yards from the hotel, tea and cake, Marmite, Spode porcelain and digestive biscuits await the players.

But lest they should forget this is France, 100 yards further down the Rue du Connétable, Gallic cheesemonger Frédéric Gilloteaux, has everything ready for the team if they pop in.

A little further afield the players will spy Chantilly's racecourse, whose director, Matthieu Vincent, said he would be "delighted" to talk to Wayne Rooney about thoroughbreds.

The striker's first two racehorses, Switcherooney and Pippy, failed to perform, while his third, Announcement, was recently sent to an equine therapist due to "psychological issues". (© Daily Telegraph, London)


Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport