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Hodgson: I always planned England changes

England manager Roy Hodgson insisted match-winners Jamie Vardy and Daniel Sturridge were always going to feature against Wales after the pair scored to seal a 2-1 victory at Euro 2016.

After naming an unchanged side for England’s second Group B game – following the 1-1 draw with Russia in Marseille – Hodgson took his team in 1-0 down at the break, following Gareth Bale’s 42nd-minute free-kick.

A double substitution lifted England in the second half, as Vardy levelled after 56 minutes and then Sturridge grabbed the points with a stoppage-time winner.

Hodgson admitted Bale’s goal had altered his plans, saying: “I thought we’d see the first half out but the substitutions were pushed onto me a bit earlier.

“It was always our intention for Vardy and Sturridge to feature at some stage.

“We thought a lot about what our starting 11 should be. The game against Russia took it out of people but I didn’t want to start breaking eggs with a big stick.”

England had been on the wrong end of a late goal in their opener, and Hodgson had some sympathy for Wales counterpart Chris Coleman as he suffered a similar fate.

“It’s amazing. We played so well against Russia only to lose a goal in the 91st minute, whereas today it took us until the 92nd minute to get our goal,” the England boss added.

“People always tell us things even out but it’s rare to see them even out over two games.

“If I had been watching from afar as a neutral I’d have felt sorry for Wales, but they’ll have to excuse me for not feeling sorry for them, as I’m delighted for us.”

He continued: “We were very aggressive and bold in our attacking play. It took some very good defending from the Wales back five to keep us out.”

Hodgson did, however, back Wales to qualify for the last 16, adding: “Like us, I’m sure Chris is looking forward to the knockout round.”

Thu 16 Jun, 2016
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