When the European Championships kick off in France in 2016, Roy Hodgson plans on being there.
The England boss, whose contract expires after the tournament, made a statement before the team’s opening match of Euro qualification in Basel, Switzerland on Monday, September 8th. The match against Switzerland is the first of ten matches of Euro qualifiers for England, who are looking to rebound after a disappointing first-round exit from the World Cup this past summer.
“I can assure you that with this group of players we will be in France in 2016 whatever happens in the opening game, and two years down the road I’d like to think we will be a better team.”
Hodgson is referring to the young side he has chosen to represent England internationally, seen in the World Cup in Brazil and in his squad choices moving forward. Without veterans such as Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard, Hodgson will look to the likes of youngsters Jack Wilshere and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to lead the English midfield heading into Euro 2016.
After a 1-0 win in a friendly against Norway, Hodgson is confident the team is moving in the right direction. The manager is trying to put past woes behind him as the Euros will represent the first major tournament for a new wave of England internationals. While Hodgson certainly wants to get qualification started on the right foot, he knows it is only one game in a long process.
“I cannot allow them to think that if we don’t win the first game we are finished, because I know these boys are going to be good for England. They will go to the Euros and that is when we will be hoping we can lift our heads a little bit out of this gloom.”
England will be forced to play Switzerland without starting striker Daniel Sturridge, who suffered a thigh injury in training midweek. This will leave room for new Arsenal signing Danny Welbeck to impress both Roy Hodgson and Arsene Wenger if he can fill Sturridge’s roll up-top for the Three Lions.