GARY Lineker has attempted to defuse a potential row with Roy Hodgson by insisting he is right behind the England coach.
Hodgson reacted badly in the aftermath of last night’s 0-0 draw with Ukraine when informed of the negative reaction back home, which Lineker had been partly responsible for.
In a series of Tweets, Lineker had condemned England’s inability to retain possession, at one point describing the teams’ display as “awful”, although he did delete that observation.
Hodgson said he was surprised by the negative criticism and now Lineker has outlined what he meant by his observations. “Decent result from a team missing a few key players,” said the second-highest England goalscorer of all time.
“My only criticism, but it’s a crucial one, was the inability to pass the ball accurately.
“Effort, defence, tactics, spirit – all sound.
“Roy Hodgson can’t be blamed for some of England’s finest having a bad night. With injured players returning his options will be greater.
“He may play [Michael] Carrick as he’s the only natural holding player we have, as well as our best passer. But who to leave out? Age-old dilemma.
“Finally, I’d like to make it clear that I’m fully supportive of Roy and think he’s doing a good job. Onwards ...”
An argument between such a high-profile figure and the England coach would hardly be ideal given the importance of next month’s encounters with Montenegro and Poland.
Yet Lineker’s observations about ball retention are shared by many and, in fairness to Hodgson, pre-date his time in charge by some considerable margin.