Apr 01, 2016

    Hodgson not throwing stones at Stones

    DEFENDER John Stones does not deserve to face intense scrutiny over his costly slip in England's 2-1 loss to the Netherlands on Tuesday at Wembley, manager Roy Hodgson has said.

    The 21-year-old, who won his eighth cap, lost possession to start a sequence which eventually led to the penalty that allowed Danny Blind's men to cancel out Jamie Vardy's opener.

    Hodgson, however, played down the incident as nothing more than a blip in a fine performance from the Everton defender.

    "I think (John) Stones, who has not played many games recently, showed a lot of assurance and showed signs of the type of player he can be," Hodgson told British media.

    "Sometimes, people have had careers ruined by being unlucky. I would definitely put that slip down to misfortune.

    "If I was to analyse his... performance, I don't think I would criticise him too heavily over the course of the 90 minutes."

    With England conceding four goals in their last two games, concerns were raised about their defensive solidity. And calls to coax Chelsea skipper John Terry out of retirement gathered momentum, in order to shore up the leaky backline.

    Hodgson acknowledged the need to improve but ruled out the possibility of selecting Terry, who retired in 2012, for Euro 2016 in France.

    "Your point that we haven't got the left-sided one is quite right but there is nothing I can do about that unless suddenly in the next five weeks, some brilliant English left-sided centre-back appears on the scene and I don't anticipate that," he said.

    "John Terry, who retired so long ago, doesn't feature in my thinking very often but I can't deny that is a valid point. He is a left-sided centre-half, although not a left-sided player. He's a right-footer. He retired four years ago."

    England face Russia, Slovakia and Wales in Group B of the 24-team European Championships, starting on June 10.