England manager Roy Hodgson considers taking wife's advice

 

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The Independent Online

England manager Roy Hodgson is considering whether to heed the advice of wife Sheila as he eases himself into his new role.

As has already become evident during his four weeks in charge, Hodgson is his own man and not afraid to make big decisions.

Neither is he particularly PR conscious, and was forced to ask whether he was allowed to neck a bottle of Coca-Cola in the Ullevaal Stadium on Saturday night for fear he might offend an FA sponsor.

It is why, while ordering his players to acknowledge the 2,000 England fans who braved the eye-watering prices to watch the first match of his reign, he walked smartly down the tunnel after Ashley Young had earned his side a 1-0 win.

"I am often accused by my wife of not doing it," he said.

"She always says 'why do you keep scurrying down the tunnel and don't applaud like the other managers?'.

"I am not a great applauder. The players should do so a lot more than I.

"Maybe I should keep my wife's words ringing in my ears and make a little bit of an effort."

If the entire Norway exercise was fine, Belgium's visit to Wembley on Saturday offers a much stiffer test ahead of the big challenges of the summer, starting with that Euro 2012 opener against France in Donetsk.

Already though, significant decisions are being made, including one that will stand beyond the summer and well into Hodgson's four-year contract, the need to maximise Wayne Rooney's talents.

"Two strikers will be the way forward during my time with England because we have Wayne Rooney," said Hodgson.

"We don't have him for the Euros. We might end up missing him for the Euros and regretting the fact but it is a temporary thing.

"There is a lot of football to be played after the Euros and when you have a player like Rooney, who is excellent in that position, it would seem a bit strange if we just went to one lone forward."

With Rooney suspended for the opening two games, the performance of Manchester United team-mate Ashley Young in that same role offered a huge amount of encouragement.

In addition to Young's goalscoring display, there were other decent performances, from Leighton Baines and Joleon Lescott in particular, which raise the potential for Hodgson having some pleasant selection dilemmas.

Indeed, though John Terry, Gary Cahill and Ashley Cole begin training tomorrow favourites to face the French, the Chelsea contingent, which also includes Frank Lampard, will not be feeling quite so secure.

"Good players playing well don't give me a problem. They give me a decision," said Hodgson.

"The problem comes when you don't feel you have the right quality of player to work with.

"It will be a problem for everybody else in terms of competition.

"No one is nailed on in this team."

PA

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