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Euro 2016

Hodgson talks up England midfield diamond

12:30 PM WAT 09/09/2014
The Three Lions boss switched his system for Monday's clash in Basel and was rewarded with a surprise 2-0 win over Switzerland to begin Euro 2016 qualifying

England manager Roy Hodgson insists he was pleased with the way his midfield diamond functioned in his side's 2-0 win over Switzerland.

Danny Welbeck's second-half double saw a depleted England make a winning start to their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign against the odds in Basel.

14/1 England are 14/1 with bet365 to win Euro 2016
Hodgson had been under pressure after his side's poor World Cup showing and unconvincing 1-0 friendly win over Norway on Wednesday.

And speaking at a news conference after Monday's win, Hodgson said he always believed a midfield diamond would suit his team.

"We thought this could be a good system for our players," he told reporters. "I have said many times recently that the six players I have got in front of the back four, there is enormous potential in them.

"They have got youth, energy, talent and they can play in different positions so Sterling can play wide and central."

Raheem Sterling, Jack Wilshere, Jordan Henderson and Fabian Delph started in the diamond, with Welbeck and captain Wayne Rooney up front, and Hodgson praised the Manchester United star for his improved performance.

"Wayne learnt it long ago and if you are going to have a big career as an England player you have to take the responsibility and it comes with criticism and enormous scrutiny," the England boss added.

"I am just pleased that some of the criticism of Wayne of late, at a time when he has been anxious to show how good he is and how much he wants to do this job, I was delighted tonight he could marry the two things together.

"There has never been any doubt for me in the games where he has been criticised that he has not been doing the absolute maximum.

"[It was the] best he can do but forwards play small margins and if a few passes go astray or a few goals chances get missed that is when the criticism lands on you and it was nice tonight to see him do that."

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