Football

Stay out of trouble, Hodgson tells England players

Three Lions must behave in their build-up to Euro 2016

England manager Roy Hodgson hopes his players can stay off the front pages in the lead-up to Euro 2016, after one of his stars was allegedly implicated in a lurid blackmail scandal.

A report in a Sunday newspaper claimed that one top England star was threatened with exposure over an apparent sex video.

The focus on the national team, who won all 10 of their qualifying matches, will only intensify in the lead-up to the tournament in France next summer, but Hodgson is keeping his fingers crossed for a build-up without further controversy.

"You just have to deal with it and hope your players are lucky enough to stay out of the clutches of this type of journalism when something they have done in their private lives - away from football - lands them in hot water," Hodgson told Radio 5 Live's Sportsweek programme.

"They are young men and people do make mistakes.

"It is a lot more difficult for players to do anything which people think they shouldn't do as professional footballers, when it is being captured on a mobile phone and people are making money out of it by selling it to newspapers."

England have friendlies coming up against Spain and tournament hosts France next month, with a trip to world champions Germany scheduled for March.

However, Hodgson is looking for some support from Premier League managers when it comes to the build-up in terms of being given the maximum time possible with his players.

In recent years, clubs have been playing lucrative post-season friendlies in far-flung destinations, but the national team boss hopes his rapport with top-flight bosses will help.

SUPPORT

"The managers have been very supportive for me, I can't complain at all about that," he added.

"It is one of the old chestnuts that managers don't want their players to come and play or players are doubtful whether they want to take part in internationals, especially if they are friendlies, but I haven't found that 
at all.

"I think the players have been excellent in terms of wanting to be there and do their best.

"As far as the managers are concerned, I've not come across anyone who has been obstructive.

"What is important going forward - and where we do have some interest in talking to managers - is in the preparation phase when the season finishes.

"In the build-up, we might need some help from managers because you don't get a lot of preparation time when the season ends in England.

"If that time is taken up in any way, it may be difficult." - Wire Services.


"You just have to deal with it... They are young men and people do make mistakes."

- England manager Roy Hodgson, on the pitfalls of being in the public eye

All the way

Roy Hodgson has warned Daniel Sturridge he will have to fight hard to win his place back in the England team.

Hodgson left Sturridge out of his squad for the recent games against Estonia and Lithuania, but will call up the Liverpool striker for the first time in over a year when England face Spain and France next month.

Eight months after his first competitive start for England, Sturridge was selected to lead the line for his country at the World Cup last year.

Sturridge was one of the few men to emerge from England's campaign in Brazil with much credit.

He scored the team's first goal of the tournament against Italy in Manaus and looked a threat throughout.

The 26-year-old has not played a minute of competitive football for England since, and suffered a thigh injury at St George's Park after last month's friendly against Norway.

Sturridge also missed Liverpool's 0-0 draw with Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday - their first game under new club boss Juergen Klopp - but Hodgson says he has already agreed to recall the frontman next month.

LOOKING FORWARD: England boss Roy Hodgson is hopeful that Daniel Sturridge (above) can be involved in their friendlies next month. PHOTO: REUTERS

NO SECRET

"I would like him with us in November. I have told Daniel that. It's no secret," the England manager said.

"I spoke to Brendan Rodgers just before he left the club and told him we would prefer to leave him at Liverpool for these two matches because we think it might a bit early for him and there was no point having him in the squad if I was not going to play him.

"Brendan agreed with me that was the best thing to do, but I also made it clear that we are hoping he will get matches between now and then and, by November, he will be fitter.

"I have spoken to Daniel and I have told him exactly the same thing - that we are counting on him getting fit, getting his matches, getting some goals hopefully and be here in November."

The landscape has changed somewhat since Sturridge's last appearance for his country.

Harry Kane deposed him as the top English scorer in the Premier League last season and the likes of Jamie Vardy and Theo Walcott are pushing for selection, thanks to their good domestic form.

Danny Welbeck is also due to come back into contention once he recovers from a knee injury.

For that reason, Hodgson is loathe to promise Sturridge - or any of his rivals - a guaranteed place in his starting 11.

"I think it would be ridiculous to say at the moment that anyone is a No. 1," Hodgson said. "I am not prepared at the moment to say Daniel is No. 1, or (Wayne) Rooney is No. 1 or Kane is No. 1. Everyone is in competition.

"I am delighted Daniel Sturridge is back fit and playing, but I know and he knows and Liverpool know there is a bit of work for him to do because he has been out for such a long time.

"But we are really pleased he is back and playing and we are expecting him to be the player he was when we selected him and believed so much in him before the World Cup." - PA Sport.

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