Roy Hodgson warns of a 'damaged' England squad in awkward press conference

Roy Hodgson warns of a 'damaged' England squad in awkward press conference

Roy Hodgson ended his four-year stint as England manager with an awkward press conference he would rather not have attended and warned his eventual successor would be taking over a "damaged" squad.

Hodgson resigned within 20 minutes of his side's humiliating Euro 2016 defeat to Iceland on Monday, reading a prepared statement but pointedly refusing to answer questions from the media or UEFA rights holders in Nice.

The 68-year-old had also resolved to skip a post mortem with Football Association chief executive Martin Glenn in Chantilly the following afternoon, but was persuaded to front up one last time, however reluctantly.

"I don't really know what I'm doing here. I think my statement last night was sufficient," he said in an terse address.

"I'm no longer England manager, my time has been and gone. But I was told it was important for everybody I appeared, I suppose that's partly because people are still smarting from our poor performance and the defeat which has seen us leave the tournament.

"I suppose someone has to stand and take the slings and arrows that come with it. I maintain I'm unhappy about it because it's no longer my job.

"As you can understand I'm very fragile. It's certainly the wrong day for me to be talking about it because the emotions are too raw."

Hodgson's appearance was preceded, by a matter of minutes, by a statement from his captain Wayne Rooney, shooting down reports that senior squad members had harboured doubts about the manager's tactics in France.

Rooney deemed those suggestions "completely untrue" and insisted the dressing room held "absolute faith" in his decisions.

In return, Hodgson spoke positively about the future, arguing that leading England was not the impossible task some believe and that success is still possible.

But he also admitted the possibility of a scarring effect on the young players who experienced the nightmare in Nice.

Part of the reason he had been so excited about this squad was because they were not tarnished by the sins of the past, yet now they have their own unwanted place in the history books.

"It's a fact of life, one particularly bad game has caused a lot of damage to me personally, to the team and to the team going forward," he said.

"They now have a major bridge to repair. If they'd played better last night, maybe it would not have needed repairing.

"But it's results that count and results you get judged on. I'm sure these players will live up to expectations and get better and better.

"I feel progress will be made and one day we will see an England team do very, very well at a tournament and my hope is it will be in 2018.

"I think this group of players as they mature will show they are worthy of wearing the England shirt."

Hodgson is willing to formally debrief his four-year reign with his former employers, as they ponder installing a new management team, but will wait to be asked.

"That will depend on the FA," he said.

"If I can be of any assistance of course I'll do so. It would be up to them to come to me, because as far as I'm concerned I'm an ex-England manager."

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