Roy Hodgson is delighted by the selection headaches he has been faced with ahead of England’s Euro 2016 opener against Russia and insists past failures will have no impact on his team’s chances in France.
Much of the build-up to England’s Group B opener has surrounded on how Hodgson best fits captain Wayne Rooney into his starting XI along with a wealth of attacking talent, including Harry Kane, Jamie Vardy and Dele Alli.
The England manager has tinkered with several variations in warm-up matches against Turkey, Australia and Portugal, with Vardy and Kane employed in wider positions against the latter and Rooney playing centrally.
That experiment drew plenty of criticism and it remains to be seen how Hodgson will solve the conundrum, but the man himself is glad of the options.
“Yes definitely [it is a selection headache] in terms of players who can command a place in team,” he told Friday’s pre-match media conference in Marseille.
“It is not easy to pick teams but I don’t think I am alone in that. Quite a few teams have strong squads and selection headaches.
“I am pleased with the ones I have. I’m happy having gone through an intense period that we have all players fit and ready for selection.
“We have qualities, there is no doubt about that. We are relatively inexperienced in terms of age and caps. It’s not an advantage per se, but having said that I think the lack of experience in the team is counter-acted in some way by youth, energy, enthusiasm and a group of players keen to do well.
“They want to give the best of themselves. They have prepared well. We can’t ask any more, we will try and guide them along the way.”
It has been 50 years since England won their only major tournament at the 1966 World Cup, while 20 have passed since they last reached a semi-final at Euro 96.
Hodgson was the man in charge as England lost in the quarters of Euro 2012 and crashed out of the group stage at the World Cup two years ago, but he insists that has no bearing on the upcoming tournament.
“First of all we don’t broach the subject, there’s never a team meeting where we discuss tournaments we’re about to take part in where we discuss past tournaments,” he added.
“We haven’t discussed 2012, or 2014 – it’s water under the bridge. If we take 2012 for example there’s only three players, I think, that remain so the squad has changed enormously.”