ENGLAND boss Roy Hodgson has admitted he may find it difficult to make changes for Friday’s Euro 2012 showdown with Sweden even though he accepts tiredness may be an issue.
At one point during the second-half of Monday’s 1-1 draw with France, Scott Parker was bellowing “I’m okay” at the dug-out, even though it was obvious the Tottenham man had hit a physical wall.
Given Parker’s lack of match sharpness following his late season Achilles problem and the enormous effort required to subdue France’s invention in strength-sapping 31 degree heat, it was hardly a surprise he should succumb.
At 31, Parker is not in the first flush of youth and his central midfield partner Steven Gerrard is a year older.
Clearly, it is a fact that cannot be ignored, even if Kiev later this week promises to be significantly cooler than it was in the Donbass Arena.
However, after returning to England’s Krakow HQ at 1.30am yesterday morning, and then undergoing a recovery session later in the day, Hodgson realises after a battling display like yesterday’s, telling someone they are dropped would not be a particularly easy task.
“I will have to assess the freshness of my team and see whether they are able to do that again,” said Hodgson.
“My gut feeling, if we have a good recovery day on Tuesday, a sensible training day on Wednesday and sensible recovery day on Thursday, is that it will be very hard for me to leave people out. If we said ‘we’re going to give you a rest because it’s too much to play two games in four days’ some of them would have us up against the wall.”
A more obvious way forward on Friday might be for Hodgson to keep a close eye on the time of his substitutions, particularly if England can establish a winning position, which is likely to mean a qualification showdown with Ukraine next Tuesday.
“Scott Parker and Steven Gerrard are both over 30 and had to work really hard,” said Hodgson. “But I’m sure I’m not going to be the only coach wondering ’can they do it every four days?’”