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London – England coach Roy Hodgson insists his country's players and fans must stop thinking about past failures if they want to enjoy a successful future.
Hodgson has become increasingly aware of English football's unhealthy habit of wallowing in self-pity whenever the national team fails to live up to expectations.
England's series of painful penalty shoot-out defeats have also allowed some players to believe they were simply unlucky rather than not up to the standards required to win a major tournament.
If England qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, Hodgson knows references to their failure to emulate the team's famous 1966 triumph are bound to be raised once again.
But former Liverpool, Fulham and West Brom boss Hodgson, who was the surprise choice to replace Fabio Capello as England manager last season, refuses to let negative thoughts cloud his vision of the team's future.
“One of my concerns for England has always been that we're not trying to win in the present, we're trying to win in the past and we can't do that,” Hodgson told FATV.
“I know there's 1966 and that it's 50 years and that we've failed here and there and missed penalty shoot-outs, but unfortunately there's not very much I can do now to change anything that's historical.
“You can't turn back the clock and you can't win yesterday. You can only win today and while winning today, you can only have an eye on how we can win tomorrow.”
Hodgson has brought in several young players in a bid to purge the squad of the selt-doubt caused by past failures.
Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling and Arsenal defender Carl Jenkinson were among those to make their debuts in a friendly against Sweden last month, while Danny Welbeck and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain were part of his Euro 2012 squad despite their limited experience.
However, with the exception of Sterling, none of that quartet could be regarded as first-choice for their clubs in a league where so many of its top stars are foreign.
Yet Hodgson sees little point arguing against the mass continental influx and instead called on English youngsters to raise their standards.
“Clubs will do what they have to do and I can't expect that a manager who is under pressure to get results is thinking long-term for the benefits of the English national side,” he said.
“If he thinks his interests are best served by getting a player from Montenegro, Russia or Israel, they're entitled to do that.
“Rather than complain that there are a lot of foreign players, let's turn it on its head and make certain that our players do better.
“Take Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for example, who plays some games but not others. He has got to become so good that Arsene Wenger doesn't want to look elsewhere.
“That's what I've got to hope for and that's got to be their ambition.” – Sapa-AFP