Hodgson calls for fans' backing

PA Sport
Roy Hodgson (right)
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Roy Hodgson (right)

New England manager Roy Hodgson has called for supporters to back the national side.

Hodgson was, as expected, confirmed as Fabio Capello's successor on a four-year contract but there has already been much speculation as to why bookies' favourite Harry Redknapp was not approached. The Tottenham boss was widely perceived to be the popular choice for the position, but the FA confirmed Hodgson was their first and only choice.

"It is a very proud day for me, I'm a very happy man to be offered the chance to manage my country," he said. "I'm looking forward to the task ahead. Everyone knows it is not an easy one but I'm hoping that everyone, fans and supporters will get behind the team."

He added: "It's the team that counts, they go out and win football matches. What I'll do is try to make sure the team is well prepared for the challenge ahead. I'm really looking forward to it."

Hodgson admitted he will have to win over the England players and supporters, many of whom were expecting Redknapp to be named in the role.

He said: "The scrutiny will be big. I understand that. Inter Milan wasn't exactly too easy, though, when I was there.

"We all know the England manager's job is the pinnacle of success for every England manager but it brings scrutiny and criticism, so I have to be prepared for that. It's always a big job to win people over. I'm prepared for criticism. The fact is I took it at Liverpool and I'll take it here."

Hodgson preferred not to answer questions about picking John Terry and Rio Ferdinand in his squad, or the possibility of selecting Steven Gerrard as captain, but was forthcoming about the prospect of Wayne Rooney going to Ukraine and Poland.

Rooney is suspended for England's opening two games, but Hodgson appeared to put to bed any debate about whether the Manchester United striker would be part of the final squad or not, as he said: "I'm looking forward to Wayne Rooney coming to the Euros with us and making a contribution even though he cannot play the first two games."

Asked about England's prospects at the Euros, Hodgson added: "England always have to go in tournaments to win them because we are a major football nation. I certainly think the players would be very disappointed if we expected anything less of them than to win the tournament."

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