Hodgson’s double target

Roy Hodgson says he’s looking for a good performance as well as a result as England open their European Championship qualifying campaign against Switzerland on Monday.

The Three Lions arrived in Basel on Sunday afternoon on the back of last week’s 1-0 victory over Norway and Hodgson, who coached Switzerland at the 1994 World Cup, is hopeful his side can make a winning start on the road to France 2016.

And the England boss has laid down the challenge to his squad to put in a display to please the supporters as well as his own standards.

Switzerland v England


Qualifying Group E

7.45pm, Monday 8 September 2014

St Jakob Park, Basel

Live on ITV

“I think it’s foolish to start saying that the only good result will be this, that or the other,” he said. “For me it’s about performance as well, I want to see how the players perform.

“This will be a big test for them. I want to see how they come up to speed on that test.

“I want the result and if you ask me what would you prefer – to play badly and win or to play well and lose, I’d play badly and win, I’m not different to anyone else in that respect.

“We do have to lift our heads up a little bit and performances and how we play and what happens tomorrow is of vital importance to us.”

The Swiss are likely to pose the biggest threat to England in qualifying group E, which also contains Slovenia, San Marino, Lithuania and Estonia.

And Hodgson admits he would have preferred to make the trip back to face his former side a little later in the campaign. 

Hodgson and Rooney speak to the press in Basel

“In an ideal world we would have chosen to play Switzerland, who on paper are certainly the major rival for the number one spot in the group, later on,” added Hodgson, who worked for the Swiss from 1992 until 1995.

“We would have liked to have had a bit more time with this group of players and bit more time with them and see how we can form them into the team we have in our head.

“But you don’t get that benefit so Monday will be a big test but it’ll be a big test where I’m certain we’ll come from the game having learned a lot.”

Roy Hodgson looks on as England play Denmark

Hodgson and his squad arrived in Switzerland on Sunday afternoon

England have made the journey without Daniel Sturridge, after the Liverpool striker suffered a thigh injury in training last week but Hodgson expects his side to be able to overcome that setback.

“The fact that we’re pleased with our options is shown by the fact that we haven’t taken anybody in to replace Daniel Sturridge,” he said.

“We think the players we have here can counter the loss of one of our more important players and we’re devastated for him because he was so anxious to play this game.

“If you look at the squad that we’ve chosen here, you see the talent and the quality of the players, their desire to step forward and do well for the country.

“And then you add the up to ten players that are not with us here, who would possibly have been serious contenders for a place – when you put that group together, we’re looking at a fairly large group of players. 

“If they can continue as how they’ve started with their club teams and even with England, I think that bodes well for two years’ time.

“In two years’ time they’ll have played a lot more games, not only for us, but also in European and Premier League competitions for their clubs.”