FA back Hodgson to lead England beyond Brazil

FA general secretary says he could not see any reason to make a change before Euro 2016.

FA general secretary says he could not see any reason to make a change before Euro 2016. Picture: Facebook.

LONDON - England manager Roy Hodgson has got the backing of the FA general secretary to lead the country into the next European Championship in France following this year's World Cup.

Alex Horne, one of the four men who appointed 66-year-old Hodgson as England boss, told Friday's edition of The Times that he could not see any reason to make a change before Euro 2016.

"For me personally, Roy is our manager to France and I'm happy with that, very happy with that," he said. "I think he's been brilliant. He's exactly what we hoped for."

Asked what would be an acceptable performance at the World Cup in Brazil, where England face Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica in Group D, Horne said an unbeaten qualifying campaign had already proved Hodgson's value.

"Pass mark? For me, personally, he's done it by getting through that group," said Horne.

"We go with confidence. We'll prepare well. We go optimistic that we are going to enjoy it and play well. It's not an easy group, it's not an easy tournament."

The experienced Hodgson, who led Switzerland to the World Cup in 1994 and Euro 96, took over the England job in May 2012 after Italian Fabio Capello resigned and steered the country to the Brazil tournament from a group including Ukraine and Poland.

"Roy stabilised the team and he's qualified us well in a tricky group," said Horne. "He kept his head convincingly, won the last two (matches against Montenegro and Poland). I've huge respect for him."

Horne also told The Times the FA had made a bid to UEFA to host the first game and opening ceremony of Euro 2020, which will see matches spread around Europe for the first time.

He said he was confident Wembley would get three games - two in the group stage and a quarter-final - and was also pushing European soccer's governing body for the opening match.

Meanwhile, Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney can be one of the outstanding talents of this year's World Cup in Brazil, according to England manager Hodgson.

It will be Rooney's fifth major tournament, but in two previous World Cups he has not lived up to the stunning impression he made as an 18-year-old at the 2004 European Championship finals in Portugal.

He was named in UEFA's team of the tournament there after scoring four goals in four games.

At the 2006 World Cup, having barely recovered from a foot injury, he did not score and was sent off as England lost to Portugal in the quarter-finals.

Four years later, when England lost to Germany in the round of 16, his form was again disappointing, while at Euro 2012, having been banned for the first two games, he scored against Ukraine but struggled in the quarter-final loss to Italy.

Hodgson believes that this time he will benefit from a recent break through injury, telling reporters: "I think with Wayne it's a great opportunity this year to really show on a world stage what a magnificent player he is.

"Maybe once or twice in the past I can say without too many fears of contradiction that on the world stage he hasn't exploded as he has on our national stage, where we all accept him as being an outstanding player.

"The message to him is 'This is your chance'. I just rejoice in the fact that he's playing so well."

Rooney has scored 11 goals for United this season, although none since 26 December, and has stood out for the champions during an otherwise poor Premier League campaign.

His record for England is 38 goals in 88 games, the fifth highest tally behind Bobby Charlton (49), Gary Lineker (48), Jimmy Greaves (44) and Michael Owen (40).

Hodgson said the possibility of Rooney's United team mate Adnan Januzaj qualifying to play for England was a long way off and added that it is up to the English FA's Board to pursue the matter if they want the current rules changed.

Januzaj, who is being wooed by a number of national teams, would not be eligible for England until 2018 at the earliest.