Hodgson sets up new player meeting

(From BBC Sport)
England have been drawn in the same group as Russia, Wales and Slovakia at Euro 2016

England boss Roy Hodgson will meet up with his players at St George's Park on 11 February.
planned get-together just over a year ago was scrapped after a suitable date could not be agreed with clubs.
England last played in November and have no more matches until March.
A Football Association statement said it would also offer a chance to "fully debrief last November's fixtures and look ahead to March's games with Germany and the Netherlands".
England face world champions Germany in Berlin on 26 March before hosting the Netherlands at Wembley three days later.
They are also set to face Australia in another warm-up match before this summer's European Championship, which begins in France on 10 June.
England confirmed fixtures in 2016
26 March v Germany (a) Friendly
29 March v Netherlands (h) Friendly 
11 June v Russia (Marseille) Euro 2016
16 June v Wales (Lens) Euro 2016
20 June v Slovakia (St Etienne) Euro 2016
4 September v Slovakia (a) World Cup qualifier
8 October v Malta (h) World Cup qualifier
11 October v Slovenia (a) World Cup qualifier
11 November v Scotland (h) World Cup qualifier
The meeting will involve "a group of players who have featured for the Three Lions over the last 12 months", according to the FA.
Hodgson said: "It's very good that I will get to see the players between the matches we played in November and the matches we'll play in March as it's an awful long time not to see the players."
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'We might never see a World Cup here. It's a disgrace'

(Click:) 'We might never see a World Cup here. It's a disgrace'

Steve Claridge on the consequences of 40 years of FIFA corruption and abuse
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Vardy, Alli, Kane...riches or fool's gold?

Lee Gadsby Basannavar
Chief England team correspondent

Jamie Vardy, Harry Kane and Dele Alli are all currently in blistering form for their clubs

Yesterday, Jamie Vardy, Dele Ali and Harry Kane showed Roy Hodgson the firepower he will have at his disposal at the European Championships this summer, injury permitting. But how many times have we been here before? English players knocking them in in the Premier League, but on the international stage, suddenly looking like rabbits in headlights.
The prospect of Alli and Kane partnering for England is certainly mouthwatering--goodness, wouldn't it be wonderful if the two of them could devastate the world's elite defences? Vardy is more of an unknown factor in that he is a late bloomer, and late bloomers have rarely performed for England. I hope I'm proved completely wrong, but Vardy seems to fit that bill of a consummate top English league performer, totally at home in the boom and bust, your go-my go madness of a Premier League game, but at the highest level, that type of football, that type of player, can be bitterly exposed. England's history is littered with them.
Then again, Vardy may pleasantly confound us this summer the way his club has the Premier League this season.
Alli and Kane, on the other hand, have different kind of abilities and we have seen them put to breathtaking use already at both club and international level. They are natural footballers, able to master all the technical complexities of the game. Power, pace, touch, vision, balance, strength. They have them all and would hold their own easily in the Bundesliga or La Liga, and by God, they must go to one of them--such talent is limited, not developed, in the one-dimensional English league; to develop fully they must forsake their vulture agents and look at the big picture. Playing abroad is the only way we will see their abilities fully-realized at international level; staying in the Premier League will only stifle as it has so much English potential in the past.
Whether or not these players will shine this summer the way they have done domestically remains to be seen. Can they go on to be England legends? Why not? Will they? Riches or fool's gold--who knows?
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England football boss Roy Hodgson gets honorary degree

Roy Hodgson getting an honorary degree

Image copyrightPA
Image captionEngland manager Roy Hodgson said he would 'treasure' his honorary degree

(via BBC Sport)

England football manager Roy Hodgson has been given an honorary degree to mark 40 years of dedication to the sport.
The 68-year-old was made a doctor by the University of York at a ceremony earlier.
He was described by the student union as an "ambassador of the sport" and an "inspirational leader".
Hodgson said he would "treasure" the award, which was presented to him by deputy vice-chancellor, Saul Tendler.

'Believe in yourself'

He attributed his career success to having the courage to take chances.
He told his university audience: "If there's one thing I would say to you, and it's something we try to preach to our football players, have no fear.
"You have got to believe in yourself."
Hodgson was appointed England manager in 2012 and has led them to two major finals.
After a low-key playing career, he started managing at Swedish side Halmstad in 1976 and since taken charge at clubs in Italy, Denmark, Switzerland and England.
He has managed in the premier League with: Blackburn Rovers, Fulham, Liverpool and West Bromwich Albion.
His international career saw him guide Switzerland to the 1994 World Cup finals and he has also been in charge of UAE and Finland.

(with permission from BBC Sport)
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National anthem: England should drop God Save the Queen - MP

Could the England national teams be given a new national anthem?
Could the England national teams be given a new national anthem?

(from BBC Sport)

Are you looking forward to watching Wayne Rooney, Joe Hart and Raheem Sterling sing God Save the Queen at this summer's European Championship?

Does it make you swell with pride before a big football match? Or should England change their national anthem?
A Labour MP thinks there should be an English-only anthem and raised the subject in the House of Commons on Wednesday.
Olympian Roger Black says God Save the Queen is one of the best anthems in 
(via BBC Sport)
Are you looking forward to watching Wayne Rooney, Joe Hart and Raheem Sterling sing God Save the Queen at this summer's European Championship?
Does it make you swell with pride before a big football match? Or should England change their national anthem?
A Labour MP thinks there should be an English-only anthem and raised the subject in the House of Commons on Wednesday.
Olympian Roger Black says God Save the Queen is one of the best anthems in the world.
However, the former world 400m champion thinks athletes from Scotland and Wales show more passion when singing their respective anthems, Flower of Scotland and Land of my Fathers.
Speaking on ITV's Good Morning Britain, Black said: "It has to stir passion. It has to make you well up with pride."
England cricket captain Alastair Cook was asked about the issue by Test Match Special's Jonathan Agnew, but he pointed out his team play under the banner of the England and Wales Cricket Board.
New England head coach Eddie Jones - an Australian - was also asked his opinion at a news conference to announce his first squad and replied: "I've been learning the words, so I hope they don't change it!"
England's 2003 Rugby World Cup winner Lewis Moody revealed he has found himself humming Scotland's anthem at their games.
He told BBC Radio 5 live: "If it was a national anthem that got me going then I probably wasn't right as a player or mentally ready for the game itself.
"It doesn't really matter what song it is, it's about the passion with which you sing it and the passion with which you go out and play for your country."

Wednesday's motion has been put forward by Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins, who says the anthem should "celebrate England rather than Britain".
"I have nothing against God Save the Queen but that is the national anthem of the United Kingdom," said Perkins.
"England is a component part of the UK but it competes as a country in its own right."
Alternative anthems include Jerusalem, which is used for England's cricket and Commonwealth Games teams, Land of Hope and Glory and There'll Always Be An England.
Asked for his personal choice, Perkins said he would opt for Jerusalem because it would "move" anyone who sang it more than God Save The Queen does.
(with permission from BBC Sport)

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Gadsby and Gadsby Jr's TIDBITS

Lee Gadsby Basannavar
Nick Basannavar


With all those New Years resolutions about eating less, but more healthily, there may be some good news. A leading German scientist researching the causes of obesity has come up with a radical plan to put an end to ‘Fat Britain.’
Dr Jürgen Flabshächer revealed the findings at a press conference in London: “Yes, ve have discovered astonishing new vays for you all to keep thin!” the slightly plump, crazed oddball rambled. “So, not eating junk food, exercising two or three times a veek and abstaining from the myopic whingeing vhich accompanies every self-indulgent crisis in your country when your nazional football team is eliminated from a major tournament -- unlike ze Deutsche one! It is zat simple!"
Skeptics have already mocked Dr Flabshächer’s findings. 
One fat man, 32 year-old Gary from Chelmsford, said: “Yeah, right! All these smart-arses keep comin’ up with their fancy theories. First it’s to stop eatin’ bacon, now they’re tellin’ me to do ‘exercise’. The f**k’s that?” Gary then went back to screaming at the referee while watching his six year-son play five-a-side on a full-size pitch.
The heads of every sporting organisation in Britain concurred with Gary’s thoughts.
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England Supporters name captain Wayne Rooney England Player of the Year

Wayne Rooney has been named England Player of the Year for 2015, retaining the title he won in 2014.

The Manchester United forward earned 37% of the votes cast by members of the England Supporters Club and has now won it four times.
England captain Rooney, 30, scored five goals last year, overtaking Sir Bobby Charlton as England's record goalscorer during Euro 2016 qualification.
Stoke City goalkeeper Jack Butland was voted Under-21 Player of the Year.
In the vote for the senior player of the year, Spurs striker Harry Kane was runner-up with 30% and Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart in third place with 19%.
Butland took 54% of the Under-21 vote, with Manchester United midfielder Jesse Lingard and Southampton's James Ward-Prowse both picking up 15%.

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Greg Dyke: England have 'got to get out' of Euro 2016 group

Greg Dyke
Greg Dyke has been chairman of the Football Association since 2013
(from BBC Sport)
Football Association chairman Greg Dyke says "we'll all shoot ourselves" if England fail to progress from their group at Euro 2016.
Roy Hodgson's side have been drawn alongside Wales, Russia and Slovakia for the tournament in France, which starts on 10 June.
"We've got to get out of that group," said Dyke. "If we don't, that really is bad news for English football."
Dyke added he believes England can win the World Cup again "one day soon".
England's recent tournament record
Euro 2000: Eliminated at group stageWorld Cup 2002: Lost in quarter-finals
Euro 2004: Lost in quarter-finalsWorld Cup 2006: Lost in quarter-finals
Euro 2008: Failed to qualifyWorld Cup 2010: Lost in last 16
Euro 2012: Lost in quarter-finalsWorld Cup 2014: Eliminated at group stage
The 68-year-old was speaking at the start of a year of events to mark the 50th anniversary of England's 1966 World Cup win.
And he said the "building blocks are in place" to emulate that achievement.
"We owe it to a generation of teenage dreamers to show we can do it again," he added.
"The FA is the richest FA in the world, the most income. The FA has to take some of the blame.
"We should have won a tournament in the last 50 years. We haven't. But we will win in the next 50 years, hopefully long before."
England are ninth in the Fifa world rankings and have not gone past the quarter-finals of a World Cup since 1990.
They went out of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil without a win, but Dyke stood by Hodgson.
England won all 10 of their Euro 2016 qualifiers and progress from the group in France "should not be the definition of success", added Dyke.
He was joined at Tuesday's launch by 1966 World Cup winners Sir Geoff Hurst, Gordon Banks, Martin Peters and George Cohen.
Dyke said: "It is important to remember and pay tribute to each and every player in the final and also in the squad.
"We hope the celebrations cement the '66 winners their place in history and hope a new generation will hear their story and be inspired by it."
(with permission from BBC Sport)
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Hodgson as 'revered as Sir Bobby Robson' - Dyke

England boss Roy Hodgson is "up there" with the likes of predecessor Sir Bobby Robson, according to Football Association chairman Greg Dyke.
Hodgson, 68, will be taking England to the Euro 2016 finals in France this summer and is also celebrating 40 years in management.
He has taken charge of four national sides and 16 teams in eight countries, including Liverpool and Inter Milan.
"His CV is quite remarkable," Dyke told The FA.com
"Roy is a great example to any aspiring coach that being open to new experiences and cultures can really develop you as a person.
"Forty years coaching at the level he has puts him up there with the great English coaches, much revered people like Sir Bobby Robson, Dave Sexton and Don Howe."
Robson was England manager between 1982 and 1990, and was in charge when England were beaten on penalties by West Germany in the World Cup semi-final in Italy in 1990.
Hodgson - a varied career
Born in Croydon in 1947
Played for Gravesend & Northfleet, Maidstone and South African side Berea Park
Started managerial career at Swedish side Halmstad in 1976
Managed Inter Milan during two spells in the 1990s
Coached Switzerland at 1994 World Cup, was in charge of UAE from 2002 to 2004 and Finland between 2005 and 2007
Appointed England manager in 2012 and has led them to two major finals
Hodgson ended his playing career, spent largely in the English non-league system, to become a manager at the age of 28. He made an instant impact by winning two titles with Swedish side Halmstad and two more with Malmo.
Other highlights include leading Inter Milan to the Uefa Cup final, Fulham to the Europa League final and Switzerland to two major tournaments.
He has also been in charge of West Brom, Fulham and Blackburn Rovers in the Premier League, and national sides Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates and Finland.
Dyke added: "It is fascinating. Wherever we travel people from different countries seek out Roy to share an experience they had of watching one of his sides, or talking to him about a player he once would have managed, or a coach that he knew."
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No Premier League break hurts England chances - Klopp

Lee Gadsby Basannavar
CSRN Chief England team correspondent

The busy schedule of the Premier League hurts England's chances in major tournaments, says Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp.
You don't say, Jurgen! But when you're dealing with a snake like Scudamore hanging off the coat tails of the malevolent Murdoch, good luck.
The German praised England's current team as "really talented", but said the lack of a winter break in the country would count against them at Euro 2016.
"You have too many games, that's for sure," Klopp told Football Focus. "You have no break, too many tournaments.
"I think everybody knows that's not the way [to be successful]."
The 48-year-old added: "Everybody thinks [manager] Roy [Hodgson] should lead these boys to the title, they have really good players.
"But they've had no break for one year. All the other teams have. You can be [successful] but it's much harder."
England have not reached the semi-finals at any of their past eight major tournaments, and were knocked out at the group stage of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
International players of other countries playing for Premier League teams have a history of underperforming at major tournaments.

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