Roy Hodgson says that his England team will not suffer from a lack of organisation at the World Cup finals, claiming that he could coach a pub team to be competitive against Manchester United if he was given enough time.
In an interview with the magazine World Soccer, the England manager said that one of his greatest strengths was organisation but that in the end, it was down to the players to follow instructions on the pitch. "You can organise a pub team not to let in six goals against Manchester United," he said. "Give me six months and I'd organise them, if they had a half decent goalkeeper and a couple of centre halves who can get in the way of the ball."
Hodgson will speak to the media on Wednesday from his team's current base at the Vale Do Lobo in Portugal where they have been staying since Monday. The squad have not had the benefit of the warm weather that was anticipated this week with rain at the resort. The players are training according to their fitness levels, with Phil Jones and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain still working towards match fitness. Jones is not yet permitted to play in contact situations and is three weeks away from being fully fit.
Reflecting on his career as a coach, Hodgson said that much of his success has come in trusting the players to perform. He said: "Coaches lead players to the water and the players either drink or decide they want to jump over the stream. That's what our job is. We prepare, orchestrate and direct but in the end it's not the concert director who plays the violin. It's the people themselves.
"A good director can help them by leading them the right way and getting their talents to the fore but coaches should never take credit for individual player performances. It is the players who have to take credit.
"Of course, it's nice for people to believe some managers are born with a magical quality that will transform bad into good, but I don't. It's about leadership skills, practice, repetition and bloody hard work. I consider myself to be in the same position as a lawyer. I studied to be a professional. I like to think I know my professional role and that I'm good at my profession. Just as if I was to go to a lawyer, I'd go to someone who was good and really knows his job, even if I have to pay him a little bit more."
* Everton's James McCarthy has been left out of the Republic of Ireland's squad for a series of friendlies, starting against Turkey at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on Sunday.