Hodgson: I don't regard possession statistics as important

Despite seeing his side dominated by Italy during their quarter-final loss, the England boss is not concerned about the importance of keeping the ball
England manager Roy Hodgson has responded to questions asking why his side have proved incapable of keeping possession in a similar manner to their Euro 2012 counterparts, stating his belief that such statistics are unimportant and can paint a false picture.

Hodgson's side had less possession than their opponents in each of their four matches during the tournament, and struggled to keep the ball for sustained periods.

Nonetheless, the former West Brom and Fulham boss feels that possession statistics can prove misleading, and that his side did try to impose themselves on the opposition as an attacking force.

"We tried to play quite positively," Hodgson said to reporters.

"A lot of the possession you talk about - You would have to analyse the possession between areas on the field.

"A lot of possession is kept amongst the back players or in between midfielders and back players.

"The statistics that interest me are the possession statistics in the final third of the field, and the number of times teams get behind you in the final third and get strikes on goal.

"So I don't regard statistics, especially possession statistics, as being particularly important.

"I don’t think statistics alone prove a great deal to me."

Nevertheless, one thing that Hodgson believes England must improve on during his tenure is the ability to use the ball better when they have it in good areas, having ceded promising positions too often for his liking.

"If you’re saying we could have kept the ball better at times and made more use of the good situations we got into, I have to agree with that," he said.

"The players realise that too. That’s an area of the game where we have to keep working and keep improving."

Seemingly par for the course whenever the Three Lions are beaten by continental counterparts in a major tournament are questions regarding the English style of play and its effectiveness against more refined approaches from Europe and further afield.

However, England's footballing heritage is something that Hodgson believes should be cherished and thinks that he has enough quality players at his disposal to combat any style that the Three Lions come across during his reign.

"The nation’s football and the nation’s football culture have never been an irrelevance," opined Hodgson.

"Obviously relations to some extent are fashioned by the type of football that’s played within the country, and what you’re trying to do always is to make the best of those qualities and to try to bring them and hone them, for when you come to meet other international teams with maybe other styles.

"But I’m not concerned about that.

"I think we have enough players in the country and enough quality in our players to match any style we want.

"In this particular tournament we didn’t have a lot of time to prepare and we will go home perhaps a little disappointed and though I think we defended extremely well throughout we could have attacked better."