Chantilly (France) (AFP) – England manager Roy Hodgson believes that the achievements of his four-year tenure speak for themselves ahead of his side’s slippery Euro 2016 last 16 tie against underdogs Iceland.
Hodgson, 68, goes into the game under extreme pressure, with England having finished second behind Wales in Group B and failed to secure a place in the less daunting other half of the draw.
Defeat in Nice would almost certainly lead to Hodgson’s contract not being extended, but although he has made no secret of his desire to continue in the role, he said he would not be shouting it from the rooftops.
“I am prepared to carry on. It is different to wanting it. I’m prepared to carry on if the FA want me to,” Hodgson told reporters during a testy briefing at England’s Chantilly training centre this week.
“If they don’t want me to, then my contract will have run out and that is how that will be. So I’m not begging for the job.
“I believe in what I’ve done in particular over the last couple of years. I believe in the team I am working with and believe the team is showing such potential that it will go on and do good things.
“If the FA want me to continue with me looking after them, I will be happy to do so.”
After a quarter-final exit to Italy at Euro 2012 and a crushing group-stage elimination at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, Monday’s game is likely to be Hodgson’s last chance to deliver success.
But he said: “I am not even contemplating going out to Iceland.
“I haven’t contemplated losing a game yet. I’ve had to accept two draws (against Russia and Slovakia) that I would have liked to have seen us win.
“So I am not contemplating anything there.”
– ‘Stupid comments’ –
Asked if it was cruel to be judged on just one game, he showed a flash of anger, saying: “I am not prepared to go into that. I’ve been working for 40 years. Don’t ask me those sort of questions.
“The game is cruel. There is no correlation sometimes between how well a team has done and the result. That is something that is part and parcel of my life as I deal with criticism and judgements that are made.
“So don’t ask me to make stupid comments like that.”
Hodgson also took umbrage at criticism of England’s performances in the opening 1-1 draw with Russia and 0-0 draw with Slovakia, as well as suggestions that his decision to rest six players against the Slovaks — including in-form captain Wayne Rooney — had backfired.
“I accept so many nonsenses that are said to me and written that I don’t often get a chance to put things right. So I’d like to put one or two of them right,” he said.
“The criticism is very simple. At the end of the game you can play well or you can play badly. We won all our three preparation games (against Turkey, Australia and Portugal).
“I don’t think we played particularly well in any of the three, but we won them. So everyone was hunky dory and fine.
“Here, in my opinion, we’ve played better. I think it bodes well for the future, what we’re doing here. But we haven’t won, so therefore results are bad, so therefore we are bad.
“That’s life. I accept it. I’m not trying to gloss over that in any way. But I can’t be as facile as to say: ‘Yeah, you’re right. I wish to God now we had played Wayne Rooney.’
“Because I don’t know if we’d played Wayne Rooney, the score would have been any different. It wasn’t when he came on.”
He added: “Now it’s very simple. If we don’t win now, we go home. So we had better start making sure we score our goalscoring chances.”
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