Thursday 26 April 2018

Hodgson confident England can prove 'every bit as good as' stellar Germans

Henry Winter

Germany will ask "massive questions" of England tomorrow, according to Roy Hodgson, who still believes his players will "show they are every bit as good" as the famous visitors.

Joachim Loew's side will be missing the rested Manuel Neuer, Philipp Lahm, Mesut Ozil and the injured Bastian Schweinsteiger, Sami Khedira (who is out for six months following an operation to repair cruciate ligament damage), Miroslav Klose, Lukas Podolski and Mario Gomez.

But they are still expected to start with seven players who featured in the Bayern Munich v Borussia Dortmund Champions League final in May.

Germany could line up: Weidenfeller; Westermann, Boateng, Mertesacker, Schmelzer; Kroos, Lars Bender; Muller, Gotze, Reus; Kruse.

Depending on any reactions to yesterday's training session at London Colney, England could start as: Hart; Walker, Jagielka, Cahill, Cole; Gerrard, Wilshere; Townsend, Rooney, Lallana (or Barkley); Sturridge.

"I am pretty sure that all of the XI who go out will be anxious that they put any comparisons to bed and that they will show they are every bit as good (as Germany), and that is what I believe they will be,'' Hodgson said.

Not since Scots in Bay City Rollers garb cavorted on the pitch in 1977 will England have suffered back-to-back losses at Wembley if Germany triumph as Chile did on Friday.

The Germans have a deep well of talent, having worked hard over the past decade to accelerate their player production line.

"All the praise that has been heaped on them is very deserved,'' Hodgson continued. "They are really a very good team.

"Despite the fact that they are not particularly old (they will average 25 tomorrow), they have a lot of players who are used to playing with each other and they have experienced a lot of success in the major tournaments.

"So I am sure they will be coming here with enormous confidence and they are going to ask massive questions of us. I can only hope that we brushed ourselves down from this defeat to Chile and we are ready to take them on.''

Joe Hart plays his first game for three weeks, having lost his place at Manchester City. Hodgson reiterated his belief in his No 1, although the England manager again highlighted the widespread problem of players not starting for their clubs.

"Joe is in the right frame of mind and I am more than happy that Joe is ready. He will be anxious to seize his chance and anxious to show everyone that he is still a very good goalkeeper. In the training sessions he does with me he has been fine," he said.

"I know that Dave Watson (England's goalkeeping coach) has been happy with him."

Adam Lallana is best placed of the three debut-makers on Friday to win a second cap.

As for whether that defeat will have a psychological effect on Lallana, Fraser Forster or Jay Rodriguez, Hodgson said: "Well, it depends on them. I am certain that the three who made their debuts aren't happy and they will analyse their performance and they might be thinking they could have done better. I don't think that any of them need to be particularly down about it.

"We are not prepared to fool ourselves that there weren't negatives in the general performance, things that could be an awful lot better. But it's important they don't beat themselves up too much and they keep a sense of perspective.

This defeat is one that hurts us, it's one that will teach us a lot but I am not prepared to go down that very clear philosophical route that we aren't moving in the right direction and that we don't have the players who can do what Germany have done.'' (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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