Hodgson must defend England players from pressure - Sol Campbell

Retired defender opens up about the stress of playing on the international stage, and also blasts The Sun newspaper for their front page that lampooned the new manager
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Former England defender Sol Campbell has stated that new manager Roy Hodgson must shield his players from the pressure that comes with representing the national team.

Campbell announced his retirement from football on Tuesday, and says that players need to be able to handle the stress of playing for England - and Hodgson will need to get his team focused on the football, not the media.

"Behind the scenes, it's quite relaxed," Campbell told CNN World Sport. "But with the added ingredients of the media, it's intense.

"And we - obviously, with the fans, they are very kind of up in it. They were very supportive. They always, every time we go out, expect the England team to win.

"So it's tough. A lot of players play fantastically for their clubs but once they transfer over to England, they find it hard to adapt. But there's a few players who can play very good for their country and club.

"But it's the added pressure of the media and the expectations of the fans. You just need to be able to handle it.

"And sometimes it takes a little bit of time, being in the right scenario, the right management, the manager encouraging you to forget about everything else, just play fantastic for the country.

"But not all [players] survive."

Campbell also spoke about The Sun's front page on Tuesday, which lampooned the England manager's slight speech impediment on his first day in the job, labelling it as in "bad taste".

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He explained: "In the beginning , there's always a honeymoon period. [The press] usually give you a little bit of a grace of a couple of months.

"But because the tournament is upons us, really, there's no honeymoon period.

"So The Sun has obviously got in there straight away, which is a little bit bad taste, because you've got to give the guy a chance to get his feet under the table and then judge him on results.

"It's a shame they have to resort to that. But sometimes that's the typical kind of journalism from The Sun."

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