England boss Roy Hodgson ready for 'a game between brothers'

Tuesday 14 Jun 2016
Roy Hodgson

England boss Roy Hodgson wants his team to do their talking on the pitch when they face Wales on Thursday afternoon.

The Three Lions take on Chris Coleman’s side in Lens, knowing that a victory will take them to the top of Group B with one game remaining.

And with an international derby feel around the game in the Stade Bollaert-Delelis, Hodgson believes it’s going to be an occasion to savour for those lucky enough to have a ticket.

England v Wales

UEFA Euro 2016
Group B
2pm, Thursday 16 June 2016
Stade Bollaert-Delelis, Lens
Live on BBC One

"It will be a derby atmosphere and that's great," said Hodgson in his pre-match press conference.

"Many, many people in England will be looking forward to this game, we certainly are and perhaps around the world [people] are looking forward to it.

"It's a game between brothers, if you like, and it adds spice and interest and it's something I can only welcome really.

"If anything, it heightens the occasion rather than lessens it and it doesn't alter the fact that whichever team is going to win the game is going to have to do it on the field of play and they'll have to do it by scoring more goals than the opposition.

"The reality of football always rests on that patch of green between 90 and 95 minutes."

Wales forward Gareth Bale put himself in the spotlight earlier in the week after questioning the passion within the Three Lions squad.

But Hodgson was quick to dismiss those claims from the Real Madrid star, who scored for Wales in their 2-1 win over Slovakia at the weekend.

England captain Wayne Rooney speaks to the media in France

England captain Wayne Rooney speaks to the media in France

"I don't like to comment on things other people have said," added Hodgson.

"We're perfectly satisfied with the passion that we bring to our games and we certainly don't have any doubts about our passion, our commitment and our desire.

"If other people have an opinion or think they're better at it, that's fine by me but it's not something I really think is worthy of comment if I'm being brutally honest."

That was echoed by captain Wayne Rooney, who is keen to make sure England are sitting top of the Group B table by Wednesday evening.

"I'm sure you'll have to ask the Wales lads what they mean by the comments, as we're just focusing on preparing for the game," said the Manchester United star.

"It's going to be an interesting game. We'll be doing everything to get three points.

"We've been preparing for this game, as you do, behind closed doors and all the information we need, we've worked on on the training pitch and in meetings."

By Nicholas Veevers