Brailsford set for England chat

Hampshire Chronicle: Sir Dave Brailsford will give advice to England Sir Dave Brailsford will give advice to England

Roy Hodgson is expecting Sir Dave Brailsford to give a pep talk to his England squad this week ahead of the World Cup.

With the Group D opener against Italy less than three weeks away, the Three Lions will be following-up their Portugal training camp by meeting-up again at St George's Park on Monday.

This will be England's last week on home soil, with a friendly against Peru at Wembley on Friday before they jet off to Miami and then on to Brazil.

Before heading off to the warmer climes of Florida, Hodgson is hopeful that Brailsford, the man who has masterminded British cycling's impressive rise, will speak to his squad to offer an insight on how to fulfil potential and seize the moment.

"We're hoping Dave will come to St George's and speak to the players alongside [psychiatrist] Steve Peters next week," the England boss said. "Steve's there because he's working with us.

"Dave's working hard and he'll do his utmost to be there. I can't ask to pin him down because he's got a big, big job and part of his big job doesn't really involve coming to St George's Park to speak to England players, but I'm hopeful."

As well as being optimistic about Brailsford speaking to his players, Hodgson is also upbeat about England's chances in Brazil this summer.

After a string of disappointing major tournaments, the public feeling is one of more of hope than expectation heading into the World Cup.

The last tournament was Hodgson's first in charge, with England going out of Euro 2012 on penalties at the quarter-final juncture to Italy, but the Three Lions boss believes he now has a deeper pool of talent at his disposal.

"There's so much competition for places at the moment that it would be very bold of me to say 'this is my best team', especially in those front positions there's an awful lot of competition and an awful lot of talent," he said.

"That will obviously occupy my thoughts. At the back I suppose people might argue there's more chance of suggesting there's a goalkeeper and a settled back four. Once you go outside of that however there are so many possibilities.

"Around Steven Gerrard as a fixed point in midfield, there are so many opportunities for the other five that whatever team I end up picking there'll be people looking at the bench that day and saying 'I'd have picked him instead' but that's good, because that hasn't always been the case.

"I think you need more than one to 11. You need that bench, so that when you look along it you see players you can send on when things aren't going so good.

"You want to be excited by what you see. 'I'll put him on because he might change something' and I think we've got that this year.

"With respect to the 2012 group, I don't think we had it to anywhere near the same extent."

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