At a press briefing at Luton Airport on Sunday, Roy Hodgson confirmed younger England players are being taken to the World Cup primarily to get used to losing.
”Some have lost with their clubs at home and at European level: now they must do so on the World stage if they want to earn a long-term England place.”
Sadly, others are still hungry for success “You can see it in their eyes: they positively radiate passion, belief and hope. And it’s my job, together with Stevie [team captain, Gerrard], to snuff that out.”
Gerrard himself is upbeat about their opportunities “Now that Beckham has retired, players such as Rooney must show the kids how to lose gracelessly; maybe foul an opponent, geta red card and become a hate-figure for the British press”.
Critics have noted Hodgson’s worrying history of managerial success but he is quick to point out that was early in his career “Apart from a lapse at the start of this century I haven’t won anything for 25 years and I’m not about to throw all that away now.”
Prior to flying out, the squad was acclimatised to conditions in Brazil by being left crying for two weeks in the nearby Premier Inn on Harold Road, Dunstable.
“The lads were already proficient at staring at their shoes and looking baffled during the national anthem” says Hodgson “but were keen to develop their talents: So when the song starts, they’re to take a deep breath and then boo as loud as they can.