• Euro 2012

Hodgson: England will improve during Euros

ESPN staff
June 12, 2012 « Blanc experiences 'mixed emotions' after draw | Chartbeat test »

England boss Roy Hodgson was content with his side's 1-1 draw against France in their Euro 2012 opener, and insists the Three Lions will improve as the tournament progresses.

Hodgson's men went ahead on the half-hour mark courtesy of a Joleon Lescott header, before Manchester City forward Samir Nasri restored parity prior to the break. While satisfied with a point, Hodgson says the best is yet to come for England as they prepare to take on Sweden and co-hosts Ukraine in Group D.

"I've had three games [as England manager]," he said. "I am satisfied with those three games but you don't become a really good team in three matches and 10 training sessions.

"The French have gone 22 games unbeaten. They've not done that overnight. It's been [the result of] people playing together, getting to know each other's games. The longer we play together, the better we'll become too."

Hodgson handed Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain the biggest match of his career to date, and the manager believes the 18-year-old could become a pivotal part of England's push toward Euro 2012 glory.

"He deserved it," said Hodgson. "The way he's played since coming into the squad, the performance he gave against Belgium [in a friendly], the ability he has to skip past defenders, which is an important ability to have, is excellent.

"I said to him before the game that this was a big occasion, but there'll be so many more big occasions in the rest of his career so he shouldn't hang himself on this occasion. I just wanted him to play to the best of his ability, and remember he had plenty of games for England ahead of him."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Close