Roy Hodgson has accused Fabio Capello of taking a “cheap” shot at Wayne Rooney following England’s Euro 2012 demise.
Capello appears to have been angered by Rooney’s perfectly legitimate pre-tournament observation that communication within the England dressing room was better because Hodgson had a perfect grasp of the language.
Having then seen Rooney underperform at yet another major tournament, Capello pointedly argued that “he only understands Scottish”, underlining the 26-year-old’s best displays have come for Manchester United.
Having backed Rooney to the hilt throughout both the build-up to Poland and Ukraine, and the tournament itself, for which the forward missed the opening two games through suspension, Hodgson is hardly likely to change his stance now.
And he took Capello to task for his comments.
“Capello is entitled to his opinions, I suppose, but I always think it’s a bit cheap to kid on a player who was so anxious to do well,” he said.
Given a matter of weeks to prepare, Hodgson’s first stab at a major tournament with England has not been judged too harshly.
However, doubts do exist about the manner in which England played, particularly their inability to retain possession.
Hodgson has admitted chasing the ball, which his side did not only in every Euro 2012 match but their two friendlies as well, eventually caught up with them.
If that happened in Ukraine, how much more will it affect them in Brazil, should they qualify for the next World Cup, where the temperatures, especially at northern venues, will be even higher?
It will become a particular issue if Hodgson remains wedded to the traditional 4-4-2 formation, now largely redundant on the international stage but a system which he has been so unwilling to abandon.
The August 15 friendly with Italy in Berne is likely to contain too many younger players to make an accurate judgment.
September qualifiers in Moldova and against Ukraine at Wembley will offer more of an indication of how Hodgson intends to move forward.
“There will always be recriminations if you don’t get as far as you’d like, and achieve what you want to,” he said.
“There was no surrender. It was a great effort and I feel very proud of what the players did for me in the pitch.
“They couldn’t have done much more.”