'What are dark ages?' asks Roy Hodgson as he defends his tactics from Gary Lineker criticism

Coach surprised by criticism and says 'all that was missing against Ireland was second goal'

Roy Hodgson has rejected Gary Lineker's claim that England's tactics against the Republic of Ireland on Wednesday night were a "step back to the dark ages" for their adherence to what looked like a 4-4-2 system.

The England manager has resolutely refused to be drawn on what system he favours, claiming that he works to the principle that needs his best players on the pitch. Lineker tweeted after the 1-1 draw at Wembley that the performance was a regression after what he regarded as recent improvements.

The former England striker wrote: "Even though results haven't been great, felt tactically England were maturing, but this is a step back to the dark ages of 2 lines of 4". Later he tweeted: "It's not about playing in straight lines, it's about playing between the lines. Depth gives flexibility, passing alternatives, creativity". When Lineker's criticisms were put to Hodgson he said he was surprised. "Did he?" Hodgson said. "Oh well, that's a pity. I thought we played well." Pressed on the specifics of Lineker's criticism, Hodgson said "What is the dark ages?" before a Football Association official interjected to say that the organisation did not wish to get into a tit-for-tat dispute with the broadcaster.

Hodgson also addressed the point made in his earlier post-match press conference that he believed England's 4-4-2 style bore comparisons with that of Borussia Dortmund, the defeated Champions League finalists. He said that the similarity came from his insistence that one of the two strikers dropped deep to support the midfield when England lost the ball, "just like Borussia Dortmund did and did very well in the final. Just like we've done in the past".

He said: "I saw a lot of things that gave me a lot of heart in the performance. If we can continue along those lines, we still have a few players to come back into the team of quality, who can push us forward even more. I didn't go away from the game disappointed with what I saw and I'm certainly not prepared to discuss what systems are modern and what systems aren't. Borussia Dortmund, in the games they played, adopted a very similar way of playing to the one we tried to play.

"I don't know that our system has changed that much throughout. The principles we work on certainly don't change. As far as I'm concerned I thought our attacking play, especially in the second half, was actually quite good. All that was missing was the icing on the cake of a second goal."

Later, he added: "I'm just talking 4-4-2s, actually. I'm not comparing us to any team. I don't think we play like Borussia Dortmund. We play like England. We play to the principles that we work on in the training session.

"As opposed to the last performance [the draw with Montenegro] when I was less satisfied, I went away thinking that the way we attacked, passed the ball and moved, and attempted to get in behind the opponents, was the right way to do it and our defending was very solid.

"We won the ball back very quickly, our players tracked back pretty well and while we played two front players we didn't get outnumbered in midfield at all, we had the numbers in there due to the fact that Wayne Rooney and the others up there tracked back."

The England players flew to Brazil at 2am after the game and arrived this afternoon in Rio de Janeiro.

Arts and Entertainment
Lou Reed distorted the truth about his upbringing, and since his death in 2013, biographers and memoirists have added to the myths
musicThe truth about Lou Reed's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths
Ed Miliband received a warm welcome in Chester
election 2015
Life and Style
Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special even
fashionIs the Apple Watch for you? Well, it depends if you want it for the fitness tech, or for the style
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own