25th of June 2012 Author: Johnny Karp
England manager Roy Hodgson says there are reasons for optimism despite the team's quarter final exit from Euro 2012. "We have to be optimistic. We have to believe," said the 64-year-old. The reasons behind his optimism? "There are good young players. We are doing well at under-21 level. It'll be good to see how we do at the Olympics," he said.
Roy Hodgson was appointed England manager on 1 May, and he might have the excuse of having too little time to prepare the tournament. He didn't want to insist on that though and he said that there even are reasons to be pleased. "With this year, with all that's gone on, we can take a small degree of satisfaction," he added. "There's not as much negativity now as there was. We are disappointed because we wanted it so badly. We had our dreams and our dreams have been shattered. We cannot put too positive a spin on it. But, when I look back, I won't be disappointed about how we played and behaved."
England have been criticised by several pundits, mainly for their inability to keep possession. In the game against Italy Adrea Pirlo, the Italian playmaker, had the ball for 4 minutes and 28 seconds, twice more than Steven Gerrard and Scott Parker managed to get together. But Roy Hodgson has another idea about possession: "A lot of possession is kept amongst the back players. I don't regard possession statistics as showing who is a good or bad team but we know we need to be better with the ball. That is where we have to keep working. In this particular tournament we didn't have an awful lot of time to prepare. We defended well throughout but could have attacked better."
Ben Smith from BBC Sport has a different conclusion: "If the performances at the World Cup and at Euro 2012 have done anything, they have served as a painful reminder of how far behind the rest of the world England have fallen."
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