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Football | Uefa Euro 2012™

Gary Neville and Steven Gerrard © Action Images

England look for feel-good factor

England are hoping to exploit the feel-good factor created by Manchester City and Chelsea triumphs at home and abroad as a new era under Roy Hodgson kicks off against Norway on Saturday.

A chaotic build-up to Euro 2012 has left English expectations at an all-time low after the John Terry racism saga which led to the exit of Fabio Capello and the 11th hour appointment of Hodgson.

Hodgson, who only took charge of his first England training session on Wednesday, has repeatedly emphasised that he needs time to put his imprint on the squad after being "parachuted" into the demanding job.

However the sizeable contingent of Chelsea and Manchester City players are optimistic that the recent Champions League and Premier League triumphs of the two clubs can benefit England ahead of the Euros.

"If we can bring some of the play, the spirit, the determination -whatever it is that's won us the Champions League - into the England team then hopefully that can help this summer," said Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard, who captained the Blues to their Champions League win over Bayern Munich on Saturday.

Teammate Gary Cahill, outstanding in the win over Bayern, was equally positive about English prospects.

Three of England's probable starting back four – Cahill, Terry and left-back Ashley Cole – were integral in Chelsea's march to the European crown, and started in the 1-0 win over mighty Barcelona at Stamford Bridge last month.

"With three of the Chelsea boys being defenders, knowing each other's game and personality, it hopefully bodes well for us and we'd like to all play a huge part," said Cahill.

"The lads have been to tournaments before. I haven't, so I'm looking very much forward to going, and hopefully we can play a huge part with England."

Although they are likely to play a key role in England's campaign in Poland and Ukraine, which kicks off against France in Donetsk on June 11, Chelsea's contingent will be absent against Norway for Saturday's game at the Ullevaal Stadium.

Hodgson has opted to give the four Chelsea players in his 23-man squad an additional period of rest along with Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney, who is suspended for England's opening two games of the tournament.

However the four members of City's Premier League-winning campaign – Joe Hart, Joleon Lescott, James Milner and Gareth Barry – are all available.

Milner agreed City's last-gasp title triumph augured well for England's Euro campaign.

"Our players are going to the tournament high on confidence," Milner said.

"Winning is a habit and you want to get into those habits of winning trophies and get into that winning mentality.

"Players have had a taste and had a good season, others are at clubs that haven't won the Premier League or Champions League but have had good seasons individually or positive seasons with their clubs.

"It's only a good thing for us as a team going out there to Poland."

Saturday's encounter could provide the first clues as to how Hodgson intends to set up his team for the challenge of the Euros.

During his recent club level, the 64-year-old has favoured an orthodox 4-4-2 formation, tactics deployed by Capello during England's disastrous 2010 World Cup campaign.

Norway meanwhile head into the friendly after narrowly missing out on qualification for the Euros, where they were squeezed out of a play-off spot on goal difference by Portugal.


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