Roy Hodgson's enthusiasm could pay dividends in Brazil, say Sunday Supplement panel
The excitement levels are high in the England camp, say the Sunday Supplement panel.
Last Updated: 26/05/14 11:44am
Roy Hodgson has named a youthful squad for this summer's World Cup in Brazil, which his side begin with a clash against Italy on June 14 in Manaus.
The squad have been training in the Algarve ahead of their friendly with Peru on May 30, and the Sunday Supplement panel have noticed the positivity among the ranks.
"There is a feeling of confidence that England might do a bit better than we thought they would at the start of the season," said The Sun's Shaun Custis.
"There's so much less baggage. Only six went to the last World Cup - only five played - and you get the Shaw, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Sterling 'buzz' feeling. They're excited. They are a bit like kids going to the big party - they are looking forward to it, they are going to enjoy it.
"It does feel like a good mix, but then things can unravel very quickly so I'm loathe to say 'it's going to be fantastic' just yet."
Hodgson led England to the quarter-finals of Euro 2012 when they lost out to Italy on penalties, and will hoping to kick off this summer's tournament with revenge against their conquerers two years ago.
The Sunday Mirror's Andy Dunn reckons the England boss is just as excited as his younger players, and believes the fact he is also a fan helps with that too.
"I do think it makes a difference [that he is English]. I had no objections to Fabio Capello or Sven Goran Eriksson managing England, but you can't be patriotic - it's not your country of birth and they hadn't really adopted the country.
"With Roy Hodgson, you can tell this is his dream. He may be in his sixties but this is the absolute dream end to his career - if it's an end. You didn't get that feeling with Fabio or Sven - that was just part of what they do. This is the biggest thing in Hodgson's career by a mile."
"He wasn't a big established player either, so for him this is the ultimate. You can tell he's excited about it and he's going to make the most of it, and he's going to try and enjoy it. He doesn't go much on the negativity aspect of it - he's giving it a go.
Custis echoed the same sentiments, saying Hodgson is doing a good job of taking the pressure off, insisting they will go there to do their best.
"He doesn't go 'look lads, you've got to be realistic about winning the World Cup'," he added. People say the media put the pressure on, but Roy says 'yes, we can win it, so let's have a go'."
Looking ahead to Friday's friendly at Wembley, Hodgson has no fresh injury concerns in the squad and could give a hint at his starting line-up for the Italy game.
The Sunday Supplement panel agreed the England manager still has some personnel and tactical issues to work out, and Guardian journalist Dominic Fifield believes he will be looking at partnerships rather than the XI as a whole.
"I think he's got combinations he's still not quite sure about," he said. "There's the issue of where Sturridge plays - whether he plays through the middle, whether Rooney's more withdrawn.
"Also, does he incorporate Jack Wilshere somewhere into midfield - is that possible? And if he does, does he have to play with Lampard and Gerrard, who he seems to favour in that three when Wilshere plays?
Dunn also questioned whether Wilshere will play a part at some point, but suggested Hodgson will favour the league's in-form midfielders in a trio.
"I think he'll play 4-3-3 with Henderson, Gerrard and Lallana," he said.
"I think he should give that team a run out in at least one of the three warm-up games, but he also needs to take other things into consideration.
"Jack Wilshere needs to get some proper game time, and Phil Jones needs to improve his fitness, so there are other players he needs to make sure are fit and ready before things get underway in Brazil."