'PLAYERS DO CARE ABOUT ENGLAND'
Roy Hodgson thinks the pressure on his shoulders will not ease despite England's encouraging 2-0 victory over Switzerland.
England's dismal World Cup campaign, and the uninspiring win over Norway last week, led some to question whether Hodgson was the right man to lead England forward.
Those critics were silenced yesterday morning (Singapore time) though, as England emerged victorious from what was billed as their toughest Euro 2016 qualifier.
Yet, Hodgson knows his team must continue to impress over the next two years to prove the England manager's optimism is not just hot air.
"You're always under pressure," Hodgson (below) said. "The day when an England manager is not under pressure, we're not asking enough of him and his team, so that's never bothered me."
Hodgson has always maintained England's early World Cup exit was down to "fine margins" rather than any dramatic collapse.
The England manager resisted the temptation to make wholesale changes in the wake of the disappointing campaign in Brazil.
He rejected the opportunity to turn to some more experienced heads and instead he has maintained his trust in the youngsters he introduced towards the end of the last qualifying campaign.
"On Monday, the players proved what I have been trying to say all along," Hodgson said.
"They proved that - yes the World Cup didn't go our way, and we were very disappointed, but we have been building, we have been changing players, introducing new ones, so it wasn't a question of us suddenly hitting a brick wall (in Brazil).
"It wasn't a case of - all of a sudden this is all wrong, we have to do something different.
"It was a question of maintaining faith that we're on the right track, that we were getting the right players in the team.
"These young players will be good players, so it was important to get off to a good start against the team in the group which people will be thinking are our biggest rivals."
Hodgson was also happy that his players maintained their desire to play for England despite the winless campaign in Brazil.
"The one thing about these players... is that they all have a burning desire to play for England," the 67-year-old added. "Jack Wilshere would play left back if I asked him to. That theory that players care more about their club sides is nonsense.
"They care about both."
- PA Sport.