Gary Lineker has responded to the controversy surrounding his criticism of the England team during their goalless draw with Ukraine in Tuesday, in which he labelled the performance “awful” and their passing “woeful”.
The former England striker has been a regular criticiser of manager Roy Hodgson’s tactics since the 1-1 draw with the Republic of Ireland in May this year, which culminated in his comments while England gave a lacklustre performance in Ukraine.
Hodgson has since claimed that he was happy with the performance, and responded to Lineker’s criticisms directly when he was asked for his opinion on England’s troubles.
"My disappointment would be that I saw Gary Lineker play,” said Hodgson. “I remember him captaining the team and playing some great games for England. But I'm pretty sure he played in some games when it wasn't that easy and I don't think every game he played for England was a total success.
“I'm afraid I just have to accept I do my best to placate most people but I've just seen a group of players missing seven first-team members beat Moldova 4-0 and come to Ukraine and draw 0-0.
“You can criticise, praise, do whatever you want, but don't think you're going to put words into my mouth or get me agreeing with these opinions. I've been in football for 38 years and I’ll stick to my opinions. You can have yours, he (Lineker) can have his and anyone else can have theirs for that matter.”
It has since been said that the BBC pundit, who presents Match of the Day on Saturday nights, would be willing to sit on FA chariman Greg Dyke’s crisis commission to address the alarming decline of the national side.
And Lineker took to his Twitter account earlier today to raise his surprise at how much fuss has been made over his comments on Tuesday.
“Blimey! A couple of relatively innocuous tweets whilst watching a game of football can land you in trouble these days.”
England face two crucial qualifiers at Wembley against Montenegro and Poland next month, where a win in both matches would see them top the table and progress to next summer’s World Cup in Brazil.
However, the Three Lions are yet to beat a side in their group other than basement sides San Marino and Moldova, and have drawn each game with qualification rivals Poland, Montenegro and Ukraine.