England boss Roy Hodgson is confident he and his squad have learned lessons from their disappointing performances in recent tournaments.
Having see his side eliminated in the quarter-finals on penalties by Italy at Euro 2012, Hodgson was unable to guide England out of the group stages at the World Cup two years ago, despite an unbeaten qualifying campaign.
But after sealing a place at Euro 2016 with 10 wins from 10, the 68-year-old says he will not repeat his own mistakes and has backed the young players to thrive without the pressure of past failures hanging over their heads.
“I would like to think we have learned a lot from the two previous tournaments we have been at,” he told the Football Association’s official website at a media briefing. “I would like to think that, going forward and preparing for this one, it has put us in a slightly better position.
“There will be things that happen in the tournament that I will be able to think back to the past and other tournaments and I will be able to make better decisions than we would have been able to do if it were my first tournament.
“I don’t think that the team and the group of players we have got now will in any way let myself, the coaching staff or the country down. I fully believe they will go there and perform at the level we think they can perform at and we have seen they can perform at.
“I think we will be well prepared for this tournament, I really do. The players will have a certain freshness about them.
“It is a young squad – I think that is advantage because, when you have had a lot of failures about you, it does weigh on you.
“We are, at the moment, in a situation where all they are getting is praise and no one can point out that two years back you failed. We can only hope that will lead us to a good tournament.”
Hodgson does, however, concede that certain concerns remain outside of his control – including the lottery of a penalty shootout.
“Everything really depends on the night. It is a bit like rehearsals for a play – rehearsals might have been fantastic, but on the opening night everyone forgets their lines or the play, in some others way, is a disaster,” he said. “That is where all the judgment is.
“How can you understand that players who are the best technicians in the world, the Roberto Baggios of this world, can suddenly blast penalties over the bar when it matters, when others, who can hardly pass the ball from A to B, can put it in the corner?”
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