England play their final home match before the World Cup this week with manager Roy Hodgson hoping Friday's friendly against Peru will show his preparations are on the right track. After a weekend off following last week's training camp in Portugal, the squad arrive at St George's Park tomorrow.
Hodgson is planning a more intense series of training sessions than on the Algarve, where he was limited by the need to allow players' bodies to recover from a long season. Peru provide South American opposition similar to that England will encounter when they face Uruguay in Sao Paulo.
While the media and public will be expecting England to head to their final training camp in Miami – where they will play Ecuador and Honduras, with a win behind them – Hodgson said: "The most important thing is a good footballing team performance.
"We are not extrapolating from it and saying, 'If we did this against Peru, that will mean when Italy come up, or Uruguay come up, that will lead to this'. I don't believe in that. What I do believe is if the team play well, and we see good defensive work or attacking work, that will stand us in good stead.
"There will be a lot of enthusiasm, a lot of people wanting to play in that game. I have 25 players who will be putting their hands up saying, 'Pick me – I want to play'."
Hodgson added: "There's so much competition for places at the moment that it would be very bold of me to say, 'This is my best team'.
"At the back I suppose people might argue there's more chance of suggesting a settled goalkeeper and back four. But around Steven Gerrard as a fixed point in midfield there are so many possibilities that whatever team I pick there'll be people looking at the bench that day and saying, 'I'd have picked him instead'.
"But that's good, because that hasn't always been the case. I think you need more than one to 11. You need that bench, so that when you look along it you see players you can send on when things aren't going so good. You want to be excited by what you see, to think, 'I'll put him on, because he might change something'.
"I think we've got that this year. With respect to the Euro 2012 group, I don't think we had it to anywhere near the same extent."Reuse content