-Hodgson urges English fans to support his team at World Cup
-Three Lions begin campaign with Group D clash against Italy in Manaus
-Steven Gerrard admits young players will guidance in Brazil

ByNeil Ashton

Roy Hodgson has urged the country to believe in his England team as they prepare to face Italy
on Saturday in their World Cup opener inside the Arena Amazonia.

England’s manager is convinced that the country will be proud of his team as they begin the tournament in Brazil against Cesare Prandelli’s ageing Italian side and he called for support.

Hodgson said: ‘What we really want from people back home is support, we want encouragement. We want them to believe, we want to give them something to cheer about. Nothing would please us more
than to give a performance on Saturday night that has everyone at home thinking “This is terrific, what a good England team, didn’t they play well”.

No fear: Roy Hodgson has called on England fans to support his young team against Italy on Saturday night

Team spirit: The England players have prepared well for their game, which will be hot and humid in Manaus

‘That’s our only goal and we can only hope they give us the support we need and that they go to bed on Saturday night as happy as we will be if we get a good result from the game. I was proud and excited in 1994 when I took Switzerland to a World Cup and very proud to represent the nation. But England is the country of my birth, it’s even greater this time to be able to take England to a World Cup.’

Hodgson’s rallying cry was backed up by captain Steven Gerrard, who said: ‘I will be proud leading this group of players out. I trust them and I believe in my team-mates. I will be even prouder if we come home from this tournament with our heads held high and we have gone out on the pitch and given everything we’ve got for the public back home.

‘What was the dream growing up? For me, the dream was to play for Liverpool and England. So to play for England and be the captain at a World Cup in Brazil is the pinnacle. Looking at the lads and being in and around them, I get the impression they’re ready to give everything they’ve got.’

Hodgson, who inspected the stadium’s playing surface last night, also challenged some of his younger players to make an impact at the world’s biggest tournament. Daniel Sturridge, Raheem Sterling, Luke Shaw and Adam Lallana all had outstanding seasons.

Pride: Captain Steven Gerrard says he will be immensely proud when he leads out his side against Italy

Talking tactics: Roy Hodgson and Gerrard investigate the pitch in Manaus ahead of the game

Hodgson, who will stick with his 4-2-3-1 formation against Italy, added: ‘When you are young you need people telling you that you’re good. It’s not by chance you are doing all these things. If you’re so good you can do them for Liverpool in the Premier League, there is nothing to stop you doing them at the World Cup.

‘We’ve only to think back to 1958 and Pele bursting on to the scene as a 17-year-old. He went on to dominate football and become one of the most famous — if not the most famous — footballers of all time. But when he came to Sweden he wasn’t even well- known in Brazil. A month later he was a superstar and went on to be an even greater superstar for goodness knows how many years.’

Relaxed: Hodgson feels his Young Lions are in the perfect state to go out and perform

sourch : dailymail
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