‘Three Lions left with major bridge to repair’

England’s 2-1 loss to Iceland and exit from Euro 2016 will cause longer-term “damage” to the team, Roy Hodgson has admitted.

And Football Association chief executive Martin Glenn said it is now “imperative” to find out why England are “brittle” at tournaments.

Hodgson, who resigned after Monday’s game, repeatedly questioned why he had to attend a news conference yesterday

But he said: “One particularly bad game has caused a lot of damage to me personally and the team going forward.”

Hodgson, 68, added: “We have a major bridge to repair – had we played better last night that might not need repairing.”

England won just one of their four games at the tournament in France, qualifying second from their group behind Wales to reach the last 16, where they suffered the humiliating defeat by a nation with a population of just 330,000.

Hodgson said there were no “magic answers” to explain England’s performance at the European Championship, where they also drew with Russia and Slovakia and beat Wales with a last-minute winner.

Glenn did not rule out appointing a foreign manager as Hodgson’s successor, adding: “We are looking for the best person, not necessarily the best Englishman.”

But he said the key thing to address was England’s regular failure, which has seen them reach only three semi-finals at a major tournament since they won the 1966 World Cup as hosts.

“We need to punch our weight in tournaments in a way that we have not done in 50 years,” added Glenn.

“When we get to the business end of a tournament, England seem brittle and we need to understand why that is.”

Hodgson read a statement to announce his resignation after the Iceland game which he felt was “sufficient” – and four times during yesterday’s news conference he said he should not need to face the media again.

“I am still a little bit unsure what I’m doing here,” said the former Fulham, West Brom and Liverpool boss. “I suppose someone has to stand and take the slings and arrows.”

But he defending his appearance saying he had not been forced to do it.

“I wasn’t forced to come. I was anxious to make certain no-one in this room can say I was worried to face the media.”

Hodgson faced heavy criticism following the goalless draw against Slovakia for making six changes to the side that had beaten Wales, despite knowing a victory would mean England topped the group.

He was also criticised for the tactic of having Tottenham striker Harry Kane take corners during the tournament and starting Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling against Iceland.

During Tuesday’s news conference, England captain Wayne Rooney released a statement saying reports the players had lost faith in Hodgson are “completely untrue”.

When asked about the reports, Hodgson added: “If it was true, they disguised it very well from the players and coaching staff.”


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