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The Three Lions' defender has admitted that while Roy Hodgson's team was hard to beat, they spent too long chasing Italy and need to keep possession longer at international level

Glen Johnson has admitted that England were too tired to pose any real attacking threat during the latter stages against Italy in their Euro 2012 quarter-final defeat on penalties.

The 27-year-old explained that England's tendency to cough up possession cheaply results in them being too tired to attack with any real potency when they do get the ball.

The Liverpool defender had one of England's better chances in the defeat on Sunday, but conceded that the Three Lions would need to show more than just defensive solidity to beat top class international opposition.

"There were times when we gave the ball away cheaply," Johnson told the Mirror. "If we’ve got the ball, the opposition are working that bit harder.

"We definitely need to keep the ball better and then, when we do go forward, we will be a bit fresher to cause them more problems.

"The way we set out and the way we work for each other, we are always going to be hard to beat. We worked well as a team, we defended well and we caused them a few problems.

"They had the majority of possession and, when you haven’t got the ball, you are working that bit harder. When we did have the ball, we weren’t fresh enough to cause as much damage as we would have liked.

"Because we didn’t have the ball much, a lot of the lads were quite tired when we finally got it and there were lapses of concentration.

"The longer we keep the ball, the easier it is going to be for ourselves."

Despite acknowledging the work that needed to be done, Johnson believes that Hodgson will be able to make a difference in the upcoming 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign.

"Not many people thought we were going to get out of the group, yet alone win it and to come so close to making the semi-finals, has got to be positive," Johnson added.

"I think he (Hodgson) has done fantastic. To come in so close to the start of a major tournament, it is never going to be easy to set down your laws and the way you want things to be run.

"We’ll definitely be confident for the World Cup qualifiers. If we defend like that, and are hard to beat, it’s going to be a tough game for anyone."

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