Tuesday, March 28, 2017

England on an upward curve, says Hodgson

Roy Hodgson is confident England are on an upward curve and can continue to improve on their impressive start to Euro 2016 qualifying.

Five wins from five matches sees England top Group E with a 100 per cent record, and they could strengthen their position with victory over second-placed Slovenia on Sunday.

It is a far cry from a disappointing World Cup that saw Hodgson’s side eliminated in the group stages without winning a game, and the England boss is convinced there is plenty more to come.

“I don’t think it’s as simple as pin-pointing odd things [that have changed],” he told a media conference.

“There have been a lot of changes since then [the World Cup]. Young players have come into the squad and team, it’s a very different team to the one from a year ago.

“I believe it’s an exciting team with large margins of progression. We will grow and get better – I have to be satisfied on their behalf.”

Hodgson has also reiterated his support for under-fire Raheem Sterling and made light of the booing the Liverpool man – who is believed to be the subject of a bid from Manchester City after turning down a contract extension at Anfield – received during England’s friendly draw with the Republic of Ireland.

He added: “I didn’t hear English fans booing. I think that’s fairly common practice that good players get booed by opposing fans. 

“I don’t find it unusual. I’d be more concerned if it was English fans but even then it would be other reasons than football ability.

“That’s what interests me rather than his contract disputes.”

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