England boss Roy Hodgson swatted away the trash talk coming out of the Wales camp ahead of Thursday’s Euro 2016 encounter in Lens and insisted it had not affected his side’s preparation one jot.
Wales’ most influential player Gareth Bale has been particularly vocal, claiming England do not possess the same passion as their Welsh counterparts and that not one Three Lions player would get in Chris Coleman’s side.
Hodgson refused to take the bait and insisted “talk is talk”.
He said: “I don’t really like to comment on what other people say, we are perfectly satisfied with the passion we bring to our games, we certainly don’t have any doubts about our passion, desire, our commitment, our wish to do well in the tournament.
“If other people have another opinion and think they are better at it then that’s fine by me. I don’t think it’s worthy of comment if I’m brutally honest.
“I am surprised people are focusing so much on the talking. Both Wayne [Rooney] and I have been in football a long time and if we were really taking seriously, and thinking about what people were saying in the other team, and allowed that in any way to affect our concentration then we’d be very ashamed of ourselves.
“Talk is talk and action on the field is action on the field.”
As for Bale’s claim about a combined team possessing no Englishmen, Hodgson added: “It’s a question the media and maybe many a fan would be asking but I’ve never, as a coach of a team, ever once considered how many of our players would get into their team and how many of their players would get into our team.
“It’s a matter of total disinterest to me because none of the Wales players are available to play for England.”
Russia captain Vasili Berezutski’s injury-time equaliser in Marseille on Saturday denied England a deserved victory and Hodgson concedes that places greater pressure on his side than Wales, who overcame Slovakia 2-1.
“They are under less pressure. Normally when you win a game in a group where three teams go through that’s pretty much enough. They have won one and we haven’t so they are under less pressure than us.” said the England manager.
Hodgson described Wales as “brothers” and believes the clash between the two British nations is one that will be eagerly anticipated around the world.
He added: “If there is a derby atmosphere then great. Many people are looking forward to the game, here and perhaps around the world. It’s a game between brothers, it adds spice, interest and I can only welcome that. It heightens the occasion.
“I think they’ll play the way they’ve been playing for a long time under Chris Coleman. We are not anticipating any vast changes in their style or personnel. Unfortunately we won’t be able to spring any surprises either as they know our players.”
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