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Hodgson: English football needs overhaul

ESPN staff
November 28, 2012
Roy Hodgson has given a number of young players like Steven Caulker experience of the England set-up © Getty Images

England manager Roy Hodgson has called for a complete re-evaluation of the English game in order to challenge the best teams for international honours.

The former Inter Milan, Switzerland and Liverpool manager cited world and European champions Spain as an example England are already trying to aspire to, and referencing the way Germany, semi-finalists in their last two major international tournaments, have honed their game to a strict philosophy and nurtured a production line of young talent to compete at the highest level.

Hodgson insisted it is time England stopped relying on the outdated notion that the national side will prosper because of a sprinkling of talent at the top level and focus on introducing methods to compete with the best countries.

"Lots of teams we regarded as secondary teams have worked harder on their games," he said. "I can mention so many countries putting so much effort into producing players, maybe we ought to start thinking the same.

"We need to start producing players, and look after them very, very well.

"We saw the Germans after 2002, they sat down and they really reanalysed what German football was all about. The Spanish have done the same thing. This is maybe what we are doing in England now.

"Even if they are not regulars in their (club) team, we are going to need to develop these players and accept that if we are going to get better, we have to work hard on their game. I haven't noticed a lack of passion or enthusiasm.

"When I started with England, I didn't know what to expect, you hear a lot and read a lot and I met a group of players who are every bit as passionate about football as I hope I still am."

Hodgson also pointed out that a revamp of the traditional footballing methodology is not a guarantee to success in international football where teams can be eliminated from tournaments through luck or decision making.

"People forget it's a game played by 22 human beings where errors and mistakes and opportunity and chance play a part," Hodgson added.

"Sometimes we don't pay enough lip service to the fact that referees will give penalties they shouldn't, players will slip over at the wrong moment and your world class centre forward will miss a chance your grandmother could have scored.

"It's a trial by television today, certainly for referees, they are really hard done by. The referee has to decide in normal time, but the experts who analyse do so with the benefit of hindsight, hundreds of cameras and slow motion.

"If you ask me to swear blind the right decision (was made in real time), I couldn't tell you. We don't allow technology so maybe the time has come to take the pressure off referees.

"If we're not going to use videos like cricket or rugby, we have to accept the errors will always be there."

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