Hodgson focused despite transfer talk

LIVERPOOL manager Roy Hodgson last night refused to comment on reports he has made a bid for Aston Villa’s Luke Young.

Villa manager Martin O’Neill has revealed the defender is considering an approach from an unnamed club.

Sources close to Villa Park have indicated that the offer has come from Anfield but Hodgson would not be drawn when questioned at a press conference for tonight’s Europa League qualifier against FK Rabotnicki (7:45pm).

Hodgson did speak at length about the game in Macedonia — his first competitive fixture since taking charge — but appeared agitated when the subject changed to other matters.

When asked about Young and on rumours linking winger Maxi Rodriguez with a return to Espanyol, the 62-year-old said: “They are not playing tomorrow.”

Hodgson was also unhappy when asked if reports that Emiliano Insua’s proposed move to Fiorentina had hit a snag were true.

“No information to be given about that,” he said.

When another question was asked about the difficulties of trying to sign English players — to comply with new Premier League squad rules — in the current market, Hodgson decided to make a firm point.

He said: “We’re changing the subject. I don’t think it’s right in a room full of Macedonian journalists to be talking about things like homegrown rules and English players.

“I think we should be talking about the game, because that is what interests people.

“The subjects you are bringing up now are subjects for a future press conference.

“It is quite important in these last seven minutes that the questions I try to answer — and I gladly will for the Macedonians — will be about the football match tomorrow and not things like systems of play and future transfer targets or the long-term future of English football.”

Hodgson did admit there was never much chance of the likes of Steven Gerrard and Joe Cole playing in tonight’s game.

Gerrard, Cole and fellow England World Cup players Jamie Carragher and Glen Johnson are among the notable absentees for the third qualifying round first leg having only recently returned to training.

Alberto Aquilani, Lucas, Sotirios Kyrgiakos, Martin Skrtel, Daniel Agger and David Ngog were among a handful of recognised senior players to make the trip.

Hodgson said: “It would have been folly to try to play 90 minutes’ football in an important competition in difficult conditions with players who have only been training for four days.

“We have pressed one or two players into service who were back one or two days earlier than that but in an ideal world we would not have used any of the players that played in the World Cup.

“But, quite frankly, we are not in a strong enough position to do that.”


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