Roy looks to the future
Roy Hodgson remains convinced that there is a bright future for England despite yet another failure at a major international tournament.
By Rob Parrish - Follow me on Twitter @skysportsrobp
Last Updated: 25/06/12 3:31pm
Roy Hodgson remains convinced that there is a bright future for England despite yet another penalty shoot-out failure at a major international tournament.
Hodgson's men saw their Euro 2012 dreams shattered in Kiev on Sunday night as they were beaten 4-2 by Italy on spot-kicks after a 0-0 draw following 120 tense minutes in their quarter-final clash.
England were on the back foot against the Azzurri for vast stages of the last-eight meeting before suffering their seventh defeat on penalties from eight contests, with Ashley Young and Ashley Cole failing from 12 yards.
The next challenge for the Three Lions is reaching the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and Hodgson, who only took up his post days before the campaign in Poland and Ukraine, believes he has seen enough to suggest that they now have a base on which to build.
"I think that with time when I look back, I won't be so disappointed with the way we have performed here and the way we have behaved and I only hope it will set a platform for future," he told a press conference screened on Sky Sports News.
"I would like to think there is good reason for optimism, there are some very good young players coming through, we are doing quite well at Under 21 level.
"There are young players breaking into teams, we've had a couple of them with us here. We would have had even more if there hadn't been injuries to (Chris) Smalling and (Kyle) Walker.
"We have to see the positives wherever we can. Yes it is another failure on paper, but I think this year with all that went on we can take a small degree of satisfaction that we did give it a good shot.
"I don't honestly believe there is as much negativity as perhaps there was. We must now build upon that by qualifying for Brazil and then trying to better our previous record."
Much was made of England's inability to keep possession in Poland and Ukraine, with Italy boasting 68 per cent of the ball from the quarter-final, but Hodgson feels that too much is made of certain statistics.
But the Three Lions boss did admit that while his players looked solid in defence, they were ultimately made to pay for a lack of incisive play in their opponents' final third.
"When you are chasing the ball it doesn't help your fatigue levels, but we tried to play quite positively," he added.
"A lot of possession is kept among the back players, or the midfield and back players. The statistics which interest me are the possession statistics in the final third of the field and the number of times teams get behind you and get strikes at goal.
"I don't regard statistics, especially possession statistics, as being particularly important as to say which is a good team and which is a bad team.
"But if you're saying could we have kept ball better and made more use of the good situations we got into, I have to agree with that and I think all the players realise that too. That is an area of the game where we have to keep working and keep improving.
"We have enough quality in our players to match any style we want, but in this tournament we didn't have a lot of time to prepare and although we defended well throughout, we could have attacked better."