LONDON, October 3-England manager Roy Hodgson has declared that he will continue to dictate his players’ training schedules despite Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers’s reservations about his handling of striker Daniel Sturridge.
Rodgers criticised Hodgson’s methods after Sturridge sustained a thigh strain during a training session that took place less than 48 hours after England’s 1-0 friendly win over Norway on September 3.
At Rodgers’s request, the 25-year-old was left out of England’s squad for next week’s 2016 European Championship qualifying matches against San Marino and Estonia, but Hodgson said he still reserved the right to determine the workloads of the players in his care.
“No manager has as yet said to me that players must not train two days after a game,” he told a group of journalists at Wembley Stadium on Thursday.
“But I understand that with Daniel, it is an important player to send back injured. I understand Brendan being unhappy about that. We are never happy when we send a player back injured, but we do our best not to do that.
“You have to be careful saying injuries are preventable. We could have done a completely different training session or Daniel could have done a recovery session which Brendan might have thought was more suitable, but I still couldn’t guarantee there wouldn’t have been an injury.”
Hodgson also rejected suggestions that Sturridge had been reluctant to take part in the session in which he got injured, saying he was “more than happy” to be involved.
With opportunities to work with his players at a premium in the build-up to Euro 2016 in France, Hodgson said it was unrealistic to expect them to be given two-day rest periods.
“I made it very clear to all the players early on, at the start of the week, that we’d done quite a lot of two-day recoveries during our time in Brazil (at the World Cup) and we realised that we were just killing ourselves in terms of the training time we have available,” he said.
“We had 88 days between now and starting off in France. We are now down to 79 days, including match-days, pre-match days and post-match days.
“If every time we give two days off pre-match, or two days off post-match, we will be down to 20 days’ training in the course of the next year and a half. For me that is unacceptable as we need to work with the players.”
– Rooney dismissal ‘not malicious’ –
Sturridge’s absence represents an opportunity for Danny Welbeck to strengthen his claim to a starting berth at centre-forward.
Having scored both goals in England’s 2-0 win over Switzerland in their opening qualifier, Welbeck claimed a hat-trick for his new club Arsenal against Galatasaray on Wednesday, and Hodgson has been encouraged by his performances.
“At some moments he has played more for England than his club and he still has a way to go,” said Hodgson, who has called up Swansea City midfielder Jonjo Shelvey and uncapped Southampton right-back Nathaniel Clyne.
“But he has an opportunity as he is getting more responsibility in the Premier League and Champions League.
“So far it seems to be going very, very well, but let’s not put too much pressure on him.”
Hodgson also revealed that he had spoken to captain Wayne Rooney following the Manchester United forward’s dismissal for hacking down West Ham United’s Stewart Downing last weekend, but said he had no concerns about his temperament.
“It is not an everyday occurrence. It is not ‘back to the bad old days’,” Hodgson said.
“Forwards often make clumsy attempts when they try to make professional fouls. He did it clumsily and the referee was right to send him off.
“It was unfortunate for him. I didn’t see anything malicious. I don’t see a reason to question his temperament.
“He was working hard for his team at the time. If anything it is a product of ambition rather than anything else.”