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Football | England

Roy wants Premier League, TV's help



Roy Hodgson has called on the Premier League and television companies to do more to accommodate his attempt to build a successful England team.

Hodgson is desperate to work with his players for as long as possible during international weeks and he believes the Premier League authorities and television schedulers should consider that when they decide which matches will be played on the Sunday before the England squad meets up.

The England coach feels Sunday matches, particularly away from home, prevent his stars becoming fully involved in training until later in the build-up to a Friday international.

The scheduling shift which saw weekend internationals moved from Saturdays to Fridays was welcomed by club managers, with players returning earlier having concluded their international duty on the following Tuesday, but it is a nightmare for Hodgson.

Europa League sides, notably Liverpool and Tottenham, are forced into Sunday fixtures due to European commitments on Thursdays, but Hodgson cited the example of Manchester United's recent televised clash late on a Sunday at Southampton, ahead of the World Cup qualifiers against Moldova and Ukraine, as unhelpful scheduling.

In a candid question-and-answer session with Club Wembley members, broadcast on the Football Association's website, Hodgson said: "This is the Premier League and TV.

"It would be nice if, when we're playing on Friday, the top teams played on Saturday and not Sunday. Then on Monday we could do a bit of work, and on Tuesday do some serious work.

"But every time, the top clubs have played on Sunday and some at five o'clock on Sunday. If they're from Manchester and they've played in Southampton, they get back late at night then have to come down again."

Hodgson also called for the introduction of a winter break to give the English season a more "logical" schedule, and added: "It would be lovely to think that one day we could all get together and say 'England is important'.

"You hear people trying to say it's only the Premier League that counts, and the Champions League, and people don't care about international football - something like 24 or 25million watched our (Euro 2012) game against Italy.

"If you want to see the English desire to see a national team do well, you only have to go to the Olympics. It's Great Britain but you had 20 000 turning up to watch a handball game - let alone beach volleyball, but that's a different matter."

Having taken the job just weeks before Euro 2012, Hodgson enjoyed something of a honeymoon period over the summer and was able to avoid heavy criticism despite the tame nature of England's quarterfinal exit against Italy.

But this month's lacklustre draw with Ukraine brought abuse in some quarters and a poor result away to Poland next month would add to that.

Hodgson is aware that most England managers suffer at the hands of the media and supporters eventually and he added: "I know I'll be vilified at some point but I hope when that vilification comes, somewhere down the line I'll get the redemption that a Bobby Robson had.

"You know when you take the job, you're dead. All you can hope is that you can enjoy that time on your death bed and that when you're resurrected a few years later, people say 'You know, he wasn't that bad'."

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