England manager Roy Hodgson has urged the Liverpool players amongst his 23-man squad not to recapture the form that they showed last season as England prepare to face France in their opening match at Euro 2012 later today.
With England’s starting eleven expected to feature Glen Johnson, Steven Gerrard and Stewart Downing, and with striker Andy Carroll on the bench as a non-impact substitute, Hodgson has urged the Liverpool contingent to not play anything like they did last season.
“I’ve seen these players under-performing week in, week out for their club,” said Hodgson.
“If they bring their league form to the tournament then everyone back home can look forward to 90 minutes of aimless crosses floating harmlessly out of play, misplaced passes and being caught in possession.”
“And that’s just Stewart Downing.”
Euro 2012 underway
Hodgson also revealed that the players have been practising their disappointed faces in training.
“Of course you can’t recreate the pressure that goes with looking dejected at a major tournament, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try and prepare,” he revealed.
“We’ve spent a lot of time standing with our hands on our hips, shaking our heads, using our shirts to wipe away tears and practising interviews where we can’t put our finger on what went wrong.”
The former Fulham, Liverpool and West Brom manager went on to reveal he had no fears about using young players with little experience in playing at international level.
“I’m confident that the players who have no tournament experience can step up if called upon.”
“Wayne Rooney is suspended for the first two games, but he has spent time with the younger players showing them how to make obscene gestures at the England fans, and mouth-off at TV cameras.”
“Wayne’s disappointed that he can’t play in the first two games, but he’s hoping that if the lads do the business he’ll get the chance to tell the nation to fuck right off when we play Ukraine.”