How can Roy Hodgson fulfill a nation's expectations?

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Roy Hodgson has a lot to do if he wants his time as England manager to be deemed a success.

International management is cruel, you can perform well over and over again, but unless you make real progress in one of the big tournaments that take place every two years, then the nation you represent is likely to want you gone.

In England's case, the expectations are even higher, a proud footballing nation that only want the best from their national team after watching season after season of breathtaking football in the Premier League.


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England will see other European teams triumph on the biggest stage; France, Spain, Italy and Germany all winning a World Cup each in the last twenty years, and that will only strengthen their desire for success.

Time and time again England enter these tournaments with what the fans believe is a strong group of players. They have shown us that each and every one of them can compete with the best, they will prove that each week when they play against some of the most talented players in the world for their respective clubs.

So why is it so hard to replicate that form for their country? The pressure.

Playing for England is not like playing for any other club, you can play for a club like Manchester United or Arsenal for years, where the fans will expect you to win everything, but it does not add up to the pressure of playing for England.

The media will instantly start to dissect the squad and find their vulnerabilities and sniff out any scandals they can. The fans will gather on social media to criticise whatever they can find. With the excitement of an in form Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy set to lead the line for England this summer, there should be a real buzz and sense of positivity generated from the nation as a whole that will rub off on the players.

Instead, all you see is people continuing to criticise Hodgson's squad selection. This is the man who has just come out of a qualifying campaign with a 100% record, he doesn't need to be told that Mark Noble and Michail Antonio have had wonderful seasons with West Ham United, he doesn't need to be told that Wayne Rooney isn't the striker he once used to be.

From where he sits, he knows best and he knows the international management game very well. Maybe there are English individuals who deserve a call-up, but right now, there is no room for error. England are about to commence their Euro 2016 campaign, and with that in mind, they need Hodgson's most trusted group of players, players who he's worked with, players who he knows how to use to make an impact.

Fans may take inclusions to the squad such as Kane and Vardy for granted, but these are two players who have not played on the biggest stage for England yet. In fact, only 12 of the 26 man provisional squad have played in a previous tournament. The lack of experience in the dressing room for tournaments like this may well explain why Hodgson will insist on calling up choices contrary to popular opinion, such as Jack Wilshere, and why he still maintains that Rooney will be his captain.

The experience at this level is hugely beneficial, but this time around, it seems to be an almost perfect balance with this new crop of players, hungry for success and eager to show Europe what they can do at this level.

Roy Hodgson can be very happy with how his players have performed at club level this season, but now it is time for him to guide them as best he can through the European Championships.

The nation needs to get behind England, it's time to stop poking holes in Hodgson's tactics, time to stop condemning his choice of players. Every tournament England enters, their players will go to a tournament surrounded with negative and critical comments. These players need encouragement and motivation to go into these matches from their country, as well as their manager and each other.

If the fans want success at these tournaments, they need to get excited rather than frustrated and help them take the momentum they deserve with them to France that they require to go all the way.

How will England do at Euro 2016? Leave us YOUR predictions in the comment section below!

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Wayne Rooney
Steven Gerrard
England Football
Premier League
Frank Lampard

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