Roy Hodgson frets over England World Cup picks

The England manager said he is dreading the prospect of picking a 23-man squad for next year's World Cup in Brazil.

Updated: October 16, 2013 10:33 IST
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London: England manager Roy Hodgson admitted that he was already dreading the prospect of selecting his World Cup squad after his side booked their place in Brazil next year by beating Poland.

Goals late in each half from Wayne Rooney and captain Steven Gerrard at Wembley Stadium on Tuesday ensured that England preserved their advantage over Ukraine at the top of European qualifying Group H.

The 2-0 win also meant that England recorded back-to-back victories for the first time in the qualifying campaign, having overcome Montenegro 4-1 at the same venue four days previously.

England's late flourish owed much to the impact of players like Tottenham Hotspur winger Andros Townsend and Everton left-back Leighton Baines, who were drafted into the team for the two final group games.

And with eight months still to elapse until the World Cup begins, Hodgson knows that they will not be the only players to stake a claim for a place on board the plane to Rio de Janeiro.

"You want all these guys to go," he said. "And there'll be another 15 I fancy will join us. It'll be a tough job to pick 23.

"A lot more will merit selection on the basis of what they've done or are capable of doing. I'm not looking forward to that situation, but I'm not going to contemplate it for the next few months."

Hodgson previously coached Switzerland at the World Cup in 1994, when it was held in the United States, but when asked if taking his own country to the tournament would eclipse that, he said: "I think it will.

"The only reason I'm cautious is I don't want to denigrate other achievements, or people in Switzerland to think I wasn't very proud of that achievement and that team.

"To go to a World Cup in '94 and a Euros in '96, that was a pretty good achievement. But I'm English. As an Englishman, it means a little bit more to you.

"It means an awful lot. There'll be a lot of pressure on us, but this team is growing in accepting pressure.

"The blend between the senior and young players looks good. I'm hoping they all stay fit because it's made a big difference getting all the young players fit again."

Hodgson was optimistic about England's chances of making an impact in Brazil, but having been put through an emotional wringer against Poland, he said he was reluctant to look too far ahead.

"If you want to win the lottery, buy a lottery ticket. We have our ticket, which is useful in itself," he said.

"I'm not being emotional, but emotions are churning around inside me. I died 1,000 deaths every time they crossed the half-way line, which is what you do."

He added: "It's job done. We're very happy, and we're looking forward to going to Brazil, something the whole nation wants and backs us over."

Poland manager Waldemar Fornalik praised his side for the spirit they showed both against England and in last week's 1-0 loss to Ukraine, but he was reluctant to discuss his prospects of continuing in the role.

"We've proved this autumn that we can play really good football," said Fornalik, whose side finished fourth in the pool following a group-stage exit as co-hosts of Euro 2012 last year.

"It's not the place and time to draw any conclusions. There is no other team in Europe that has played their two latest matches away from home against such good teams like England and Ukraine.

"We didn't have to lose these matches. We played well, we felt stronger and stronger as a team.

"But the problem lies elsewhere, in how we convert our chances. For instance, in Kharkiv (against Ukraine), we had six or seven decent chances and we should have scored some goals there."

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