England manager Roy Hodgson has assured the fans that Three Lions will definitely qualify for Euro 2016. Captain Wayne Rooney is also eager to start the qualifying campaign with a win.
England performed very poorly in the World Cup in Brazil and manager Roy Hodgson is under extra pressure to perform well in the Euro qualifiers. But Hodgson has played down suggestions that today’s Euro 2016 qualifier in Switzerland is a must-win game because of England’s disappointing World Cup.
“It’s the first qualifying game,” Hodgson said in a press conference. “We want to get off to a good start, we want to play well and we want to win, but if it doesn’t happen it won’t necessarily impact on 2016. I wouldn’t dream of suggesting to my players that we have to win this one, or telling them it is very important because we need to dispel the air of negativity that has surrounded us since the World Cup.
“If we win by three goals to nil in Switzerland it doesn’t mean we are going to win the Euros in 2016, and if we lose it will not be the end of the world either.”
Hodgson chose to give chance to the youngsters like Sterling and Luke Shaw during the World Cup and he stressed that the squad will remain the same for Euro 2016.
“After Basel there will still be nine more matches to play, including the one against Switzerland at home. I can assure you that with this group of players we will be in France in 2016 whatever happens in the opening game, and two years down the road I’d like to think we will be a better team.”
The England youngsters received lots of criticism for their performances in the World Cup but Hodgson give them his support. He said: “Some of these young players are getting a baptism of fire, they are coming in very young and into an air of negativity, so let’s not build up this next match into a World Cup final. It’s not that, it’s just the first game of qualifying.”
Meanwhile, England captain Wayne Rooney is also very eager to start the Euro 2016 qualifying campaign with a win.
England face Switzerland in their opening qualifier on Monday and are regarded as the two strongest teams in Group E, which also includes Slovenia, Estonia, Lithuania and San Marino.
“It is important to try to win,” said Rooney in a press conference on the eve of the match. “But I think not to get beat and give Switzerland the upper hand from the first game is vital.”
And like coach Hodgson, Rooney is also determined to give youngsters a chance. He said: “It’s exciting times. The lads who were at that tournament have gained vital experience.”