England must 'try to keep the Olympic spirit going' says Roy Hodgson

 

Roy Hodgson has urged England's footballers to continue the feelgood factor of the nation brought upon by the Olympic Games. .

England return to Wembley for the first time since Euro 2012 when they tackle Ukraine in tomorrow evening's World Cup qualifier.

Fifteen of the Team GB medallists at this summer's games will be presented to the crowd at half-time.

Hodgson said: "They have been such a success for the nation. It is terrific they can come and be paraded at the game tomorrow.

"It is nice for us to see the British people are still prepared to get behind their athletes.

"We as a sporting nation have profited enormously from the Olympic Games.

"It is important now that, in our individual sports, we try to keep some of that spirit going and try to tap in to what is a great interest in the English public in top level sport."

Hodgson is looking for England to put on a memorable show in front of a large crowd.

He said: "We will have 70,000 there tomorrow on a Tuesday night after a summer where people have spent a lot to watch the Olympics.

"It adds to the pressure, the fact we know so many people want us to do well, and it does tighten people up a bit.

"At times that can be a good thing as well because it means there is no question about not having the bright focus and the right attitude towards the game.

"That is important as a coach, knowing the players want it very badly and are focused on their task."

Hodgson has confirmed he will make only one enforced change from the side which overcame Moldova on Friday with either Gary Cahill or Phil Jagielka replacing the injured John Terry.

He said: "I'm not trying to be coy about the team. It was excellent defensively and offensively against Moldova.

"I see no reason for making any particular changes in the team other than the one forced upon us.

"We will be playing the same players as long as nothing untoward happens between now and kick off time.

"Cahill and Jagielka are both good players so it is a tight decision and whichever player I chose, I would be happy the team was well covered and that John's absence is well covered.

"It is a nice position to be in when have two good players, you trust them both, and it is up to me to choose the one I think will be the better player for this particular match."

Hodgson is looking to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Tom Cleverley to continue the impressive form they demonstrated in Chisinau.

He said: "They have certainly made a great impact and they must be delighted with the way they played.

"It is very good we have these obvious talents coming through and breaking onto the scene and succeeding when they break onto the scene.

"But before you can become an established player, you have to do it week after week for your club team and then everytime you are selected for the national team.

"It is always good to get off to a good start like Alex and Tom have done and we now believe in them and know they have the qualities required to fill the roles we want them to fill.

"Each game is a fresh challenge and they've got to get out there and do it again. But they know the coaching staff and the players are behind them."

PA

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