World Cup 2014: Roy Hodgson knows his young stars need experience heads around them - Glenn Hoddle
England's 1998 World Cup manager has his say on this summer's tournament
The lesson to Roy Hodgson from the experiences of the last Englishman to take his country to a World Cup finals is to concentrate on the present. Hodgson names his squad for Brazil on Monday and when it comes to deciding whether to take Luke Shaw’s potential, or Ashley Cole’s experience, is bound to consider the 2016 European Championship in France.
In 1998 Glenn Hoddle took Rio Ferdinand to France so he could experience the tournament environment with a view to the 2000 European Championships. With David Beckham, Michael Owen and Paul Scholes also coming through Hoddle identified that competition as one England could win. “What was very frustrating for me was I had us earmarked to really attack Euro 2000, that was the one I felt with the experience we had in the team, and those four youngsters we could have a real go,” he said yesterday.
It didn’t turn out like that, Hoddle was axed in November 1998 after making controversial comments about disabled people at a time when his relations with the team, media and FA had soured.
Hoddle, though, remains a believer in young players. "With Raheem Sterling, with Adam Lallana, who’s not as young but is inexperienced at that level, Ross Barkley and Shaw there are some good youngsters that are going to grow in that tournament if they get the chance. But Roy will know they need experience around them.
“I’ll feel for Roy this weekend,” added Hoddle who was at Continental’s Road to Rio Roadshow in London. “We lost players to injury [in 1998], like Ian Wright, and had others who were touch and go, like Darren Anderton then, and Jack Wilshere now. With time running out you have to decide whether to take a risk with people or not. Every England manager goes through it. Hopefully everyone steers clear of injury this weekend.”
Then comes the hard part, telling the players who have not made the squad. Hoddle, did it to the soundtrack of Kenny G in La Manga, and had to deal with a drunken Paul Gascoigne smashing his hotel room furniture. Hodgson will be doing it on the phone, on Monday morning.
“I always felt as a player I wanted to be told face to face, that was my criteria to treat players,” said Hoddle. “But Roy won’t have his squad around him like I did.”
The reason is that while Hoddle, partly because of several injury doubts, left naming his squad a fortnight before England’s opening match, which meant he took 30 players to La Manga for pre-tournament preparations, Hodgson has decided to name his before training camps in Portugal and Miami.
Hoddle added: “It will help Roy that there is less expectation this time, and rightly so. It is in South America, no European side has won it there, why should we think we can walk over there and win it? That reduces the expectation of media, public, even the players. They will be going there to win it, but the pressure isn’t quite the same and I think that will be a very good thing for us.”
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