Hodgson insists defeat is out of England’s system

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain the only absentee for crucial Group D game against Uruguay

England manager Roy Hodgson at a press conference at the Arena Corinthians in Sao Paulo. Photograph: Sebastiao Moreiro / EPA

England manager Roy Hodgson at a press conference at the Arena Corinthians in Sao Paulo. Photograph: Sebastiao Moreiro / EPA

 

Roy Hodgson confirmed on Wednesday he will have everyone bar Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to choose when he selects his team for the critically important Group D match in Sao Paulo.

If there is a winner they will still have some work to do in order to qualify for the second stage of this World Cup after losing their openers but defeat will mean an early journey home, while a draw will mean both sides will be dependent on other results.

The England manager was in typically subdued form through last night’s event, the significance of which was lessened somewhat by the absence of the main correspondents who had presumably spoken with the manager earlier in the day in order to be able to meet their deadlines.

Still, he rejected the general criticism of Wayne Rooney’s performance at the weekend and said the entire team is focused on getting a win this evening, then pushing on with the aim of securing a place in the competition’s second round.

“I try not to comment too much on where pressure is brought to bear,” said the 66 year-old. “but as far as I am concerned I was more than satisfied with Wayne Rooney’s performance against the Italians. It was interesting to get the statistics back and learn that he ran more than any other England player, that he made more sprints than any other England player which wasn’t always evident to people watching the game.

“We have three important games, however,” he continued, “and we’ve had that first one, taken the good and the bad from it, analysed it and now we think we’ve got it out of our system.

“Now we’re just focused on tomorrow night and we’re excited because we think it will be a good game between two good teams. We always knew that this was a difficult group, that it would be (difficult)to qualify from because there were more than two contenders for the top two places, but we’re going to do everything in our power to make sure that it’s us that goes through and not Uruguay. ”

The change of conditions compared to Manaus - it is expected to be cool and wet - will, he acknowledged, be welcome, although he noted that many of the Uruguayan players play in Europe too and that “the heat in Manaus never stopped us playing at the tempo we wanted to.”

Gerrard, meanwhile, admitted that the expected return to the Uruguay team of his friend and fellow Liverpool star Luis Suarez would lift the spirits of England’s opponents.

“Luis Suarez is a genius, I’ve said that many other times,” he said. “He’s a great player and it going to be a huge boost for the rest of the Uruguay players and the supporters to have him back but they we have to treat Luis in the same way that we treat any other Uruguay player. Of course we have huge respect for the team and for Luis as an individual but we a game-plan in place to try to win this football match.”

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