'Surprised' Roy Hodgson hits back at Gary Lineker after England performance is described as 'awful'

Manager responds to criticism of 'awful' Ukraine display by questioning former striker's international career

Click to follow
The Independent Football

Roy Hodgson has hit back at Gary Lineker's criticism of the England team's "awful" 0-0 draw with Ukraine, claiming that the England sides the former striker played in were not always "a total success" either.

The former England captain now BBC pundit lamented England passing "like they've never been introduced to each other" during Tuesday's game and complained about the omission of Michael Carrick from the side.

In response to Lineker, Hodgson said: "Well, again, I'm surprised. I'm surprised anyone who has played for England, captained England and played in games of this nature can be that critical. This is the second time.

"My disappointment would be that I saw Gary Lineker play, 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 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, or praise, or do whatever you want to do, 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 will stick to my opinions. You can have yours, he can have his and anyone else can have theirs for that matter. This is the beauty of football. There are 60 million opinions out there. But I will be surprised if I am walking down the street in the next few weeks if people aren't actually saying 'You did well in those two games.' I'd be surprised. But we'll wait to see."

Tonight, Lineker moved to defuse the row, saying he was "fully supportive of Roy" and that he believed he was "doing a good job". Lineker took to Twitter again to say: "Decent result from a team missing a few key players. My only criticism, but it's a crucial one, was the inability to pass the ball accurately. Effort, defence, tactics, spirit, all sound.

"Roy Hodgson can't be blamed for some of England's finest having a bad night. With injured players returning his options will be greater. He may play Carrick as he's the only natural holding player we have, as well as our best passer. But who to leave out? Age-old dilemma."