at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
Krakow, Poland – Roy Hodgson believes England can learn from Germany's example as he seeks to rebuild the country's footballing fortunes after their disappointing Euro 2012 exit.
England departed their Krakow training base on Monday in a dejected state after a penalty shootout saw them being dumped out of the quarterfinals of a major tournament once more by Italy following a goalless draw in Kiev.
The overwhelming consensus of opinion is that Italy were deserving winners after totally outplaying Hodgson's side at the Olympic Stadium, dominating with 64 percent possession and having 35 shots to England's nine.
However Hodgson believes England can take inspiration from the way Germany – who face Italy on Thursday –gla rebuilt their footballing fortunes after a dismal performance at Euro 2004 in time for the 2006 World Cup.
“Germany went into that tournament unfancied, with a new coach, a lot of new players we didn't know much about and older ones who had failed in previous tournaments,” said the 64-year-old coach.
“We have seen how well they have kicked on since 2006 and have to take heart from that.”
Hodgson is adamant that in Danny Welbeck, Andy Carroll, Jordan Henderson and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain England have the nucleus of a promising side.
With the injured Kyle Walker, Chris Smalling and Jack Wilshere also available in future, Hodgson believes England have the potential to rebuild.
“There is good reason for optimism,” he said.
“We have some players coming through who are doing quite well at Under-21 level and I will be interested to see how they do in the Olympics.
“If it had not been for injuries to people like Smalling and Walker there would have been even more young players with us here.
“We have to believe. We have to see the positives where we can and try and ignore the fact that yes, it is another failure on paper because we have not got past the quarter-final stage.
“I don't believe there is as much negativity as perhaps there was.
“But the only way we can build upon what we have done here is by qualifying for Brazil (the 2014 World Cup finals) and, when that tournament comes around, trying to better our previous record.”
Hodgson meanwhile dismissed suggestions that the structure of the English club game, where the Premier League is dominated by foreign players, is counter-productive to the interests of the national side.
“Leagues are not nations,” said Hodgson.
“Our league contains many teams that don't have one English player.
“Having said that, I still think we have more than enough good Englishmen playing in the league to put together a good England national team.”
Hodgson also acknowledged that it may take years before English football reaps the benefits of the new coaching centre at St George's Park, due to open this year.
“I would like to benefit from it myself of course,” Hodgson said. “It would be even better if that was the case.
“But the fact is when you have been given a job like I have it is a great responsibility, not only for a particular team but for the whole of English football.
“The success of anybody can quite often be measured in what he leaves behind and what happens after they have left.
“I shall be working very hard, not only to win the matches for the team I am working with but also trying to help the FA in any way they think is required to make certain English football continues to progress.
“If we accept, at the moment, people like Germany and Spain are better than us, let's work hard to try and narrow that gap.” – Sapa-AFP