England hire sports psychologist

Roy Hodgson says Johnson is set to earn 50th cap

England’s Ashley Cole leads players during training including new player Luke Shaw (rear) for tonight’s friendly against Denmark at Wembley.

England’s Ashley Cole leads players during training including new player Luke Shaw (rear) for tonight’s friendly against Denmark at Wembley.


The England manager Roy Hodgson has confirmed he will use a sports psychologist in the lead-up to the World Cup – naming Dr Steve Peters as the man who will help prepare his players for the challenges in Brazil.

Peters, who has worked closely with Liverpool and has a long-standing relationship with the England captain Steven Gerrard, will be involved with Hodgson’s squad and the manager is pleased to have him on board. “It is not just any psychologist,” he said. “It is Dr Steve Peters, who is a very famous man in that area. He has a great CV of working in different sports and has been doing some work with Liverpool and Brendan Rodgers so Steve knows him well. “It is something we have spoken about for some time but we wanted to get the right man – luckily Brendan let me talk to Steve and he has accepted our invitations so we are happy with that.”

Peters has also worked successfully with the British cycling team and the five-times world snooker champion Ronnie O’Sullivan.

Walker’s withdrawal
Hodgson also confirmed Kyle Walker’s withdrawal from tonight’s friendly at home to Denmark and confirmed Glen Johnson is now set to earn his 50th cap.

“It is unfortunate of course,” Hodgson said of Walker’s hip injury. “He hasn’t played for the last two or three games and we were hoping he would recover but he needs at least another week before he will be fit to play. He was with us last night, we had a ‘Brazil’ meeting to put our plans forward.

“There aren’t that many defenders so there is a good chance, if you insist I tell you Glen Johnson will get his 50th cap at right-back, then I can say ‘yes’.”

Gerrard is joined in the England squad by Liverpool team-mates Johnson, Raheem Sterling, Daniel Sturridge and Jordan Henderson and the captain wants to see their club form reflected in a strong international showing if they are selected.

In good form
“I think we have got five in the squad and everyone is in good form and feeling confident,” he said. “If everyone is selected hopefully they can bring their performances tomorrow night. We are happy with where we are in the table.

“You have got to give credit to Brendan Rogers – if you are good enough he plays you. He is not scared and he has been paid back by them with top-class performances.”

Both Hodgson and Gerrard were involved in yesterday’s team meeting geared to the summer’s World Cup, with preparations for Denmark beginning tonight.

Although he would not be drawn into the intricacies of the meeting, Hodgson said he was hoping to instil a family feel amongst his squad. “It [the meeting] was heavily focused on Brazil and it was the only time to do that,” he said. “Part of the meeting was the obvious, about logistically what our plans are and where we are staying and for how long.

“What I said about the actual tournament was nothing spectacular but I don’t think it is right to go out and broadcast those things. I like to think that sometimes in the world of football you can do things in the comfort of your own home, a dressing room or meeting room.

“You can speak to players and tell them quite frankly and honestly – like talking to family members – what is on your mind without finding out the next day a newspaper or TV company has broadcast your every word.”