Roy Hodgson wants to win all of England’s qualification games…
England manager Roy Hodgson has set his team the target of winning all ten of their qualification matches, so as to offer his players something to aim for in an otherwise tedious campaign.
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UEFA’s decision to include 24 teams in the Euro 2016 tournament means that qualification is all but a certainty for the continent’s big hitters, with England having all but secured their progress with victory over Switzerland in their opening game.
As the Daily Mail explained, one of his toughest tasks of the week came during yesterday’s press conference: summoning the right amount of enthusiasm while remaining polite about the world’s worst international team.
Having emerged triumphant from the first and, on paper, the trickiest fixture, against the Swiss in Basle, the only remaining goal for the Three Lions outside of qualification, is to win all their matches.
“There are 10 qualifying matches,” said Hodgson. “In the last 10, we won six and drew four. It would be nice to go through this qualifying campaign unbeaten. If we get two good results, we’ll set ourselves the target of winning all the games.”
The source adds that San Marino at Wembley on Thursday night will not present a problem. Estonia in Tallinn on Sunday is perhaps a little tougher but should not disturb the plan.
England’s qualification campaign for the World Cup in Brazil was about as unimpressive as a group-topping unbeaten campaign can be. Of the six wins, four were against San Marino and Moldova – and Hodgson hopes to improve on that this time around.
“I’m looking very much at the movement of our front players and midfielders, which is something we’ve worked on for a long time,” Hodgson added.
“And for the same level of defensive commitment we showed against Switzerland in terms of winning the ball back quickly and sustaining attacks. I’d be disappointed if the pace of our play dropped enormously because we’re getting a lot of the ball. I want us to put pressure on ourselves to keep the tempo up.
“I know the players would like to do that. In football, things don’t always work out the way you hope. But I’m very confident that the players will want to give me and the country the performance I expect.”
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