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Hodgson: I could stop United with a pub team

ESPN staff
May 21, 2014 « Van Gaal backed to spend wisely | Rashid's burst takes Yorkshire top »
Roy Hodgson will use warm up games against Peru, Ecuador and Honduras to fine tune his World Cup plans © Getty Images
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England manager Roy Hodgson has claimed he could organise a pub team to shut out Manchester United if he was given enough time to prepare.

Hodgson believes he could stop the likes of Robin van Persie and Wyane Rooney from running riot against a Sunday league outfit, as long as he had six months on the training field to get ready.

"You can organise a pub team not to let in six goals against Manchester United," Hodgson, in Portugal preparing for the World Cup with England, told World Soccer magazine. "Give me six months and I'd organise them, if they had a half-decent goalkeeper and a couple of centre halves who can get in the way of the ball.

"I consider myself to be in the same position as a lawyer. I studied to be a professional. I like to think that I'm good at my profession. Just as if I was to go to a lawyer, I'd go to someone who was good and really knows his job, even if I have to pay more.

"It's nice for people to believe some managers are born with a magical quality to transform bad into good. I don't. It's about leadership, practice, repetition and bloody hard work."

Hodgson's confidence about his starting line-up for England's first game against Italy is not so high.

He confirmed at his squad announcement earlier this month that the make-up of his 23-man party travelling to Brazil this summer has "changed considerably" since his side secured qualification last October.

Hodgson has put his faith in youth with stars like Everton's Ross Barkley and Liverpool's Raheem Sterling set to shine in Brazil, while Southampton left-back Luke Shaw - the subject of a £25 million bid from Manchester United - was selected ahead of veteran Ashley Cole, who promptly retired from international football.

Now Hodgson has conceded he has yet to settle on his best XI as he plans to use warm up games against Peru, Ecuador and Honduras to fine tune before the Italy clash in Manaus on June 14th.

"I have many ideas but no firm ideas," said Hodgson, before he was asked whether he had his ideal team in mind and responded: "Not yet. I don't need to do that yet.

"We are a long way off. I don't know how the players are going to be performing in three or four weeks' time. I don't know how their fitness will be either."

Hodgson is planning to attend Italy's warm-up match against the Republic of Ireland at Fulham's Craven Cottage ground on May 31 in London, but he admitted his plans to take on the Azzurri will not be hugely affected by that friendly international.

"I shall be there, but I shall be very careful with my judgements because those games are notoriously tricky," added Hodgson.

"You either come away being very impressed or unimpressed and then the team you meet a few weeks later in a competitive game can be a totally different kettle of fish to the one you have seen in the friendlies.

"So I will be watching it and getting a few more ideas on the players I feel I know quite well anyway, but I won't be making very bold judgements as competitive matches are very different."

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