Hodgson edgy ahead of World Cup qualifiers

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England manager Roy Hodgson admitted that he felt the pressure of expectation ahead of England's two World Cup qualifiers. With England needing to win both matches to be assured of a place in Brazil next summer, a single slip-up could cost him his job.

One amusing slip-up was made by the BBC's caption team when Hodgson appeared on Match Of The Day above the line "Premier League's all-time top goalscorer". The manager has plenty of experience of crucial qualifiers, but admits England is different.

"I've had some weeks in the past with other national teams leading up to final qualification games where you feel a lot of responsibility for the country and for trying to get your team through," he said. "But when it's your own country it weighs that little bit more heavily."

England looked lacklustre in their last qualifier, a 0-0 draw with Ukraine, but Hodgson thought they would rise to the occasion against Montenegro and Poland. "In hindsight, we've had better attacking days, though our defending was very good, our shape was very good and in the circumstances to take a point from a difficult game was not bad. But when we have what I think is our best team on the field we have some marvellous attacking players and pass the ball very well."

He said he knew 80 percent of his team and restated his faith in goalkeeper Joe Hart who has been in poor form this season. "Goalkeepers are in a very difficult position– every mistake is so easy to see. Midfielders can make mistakes, forwards can make silly runs, we don't always notice. But with a goalkeeper everyone sees it. But this is a time for experience and for people who really know what it's like to play for England in important games."

Hodgson has been around long enough to remember the crucial match 40 years ago at Wembley when a draw against Poland meant England missed out on qualification and England's only successful manager, Alf Ramsey, lost his job. Hodgson won't be dwelling on it.

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