Roy Hodgson is relaxed about his future as England manager – a role captain Wayne Rooney hopes he will remain in for a “few more years”.
The 67-year-old has been at the Three Lions’ helm since succeeding Fabio Capello in May 2012, but is coming towards the end of his deal.
Hodgson has retained a relaxed stance when quizzed about post-Euro 2016 life –an approach echoed this week by Football Association chairman Greg Dyke, who said contract talks will come sometime in the next nine months to a year.
The Football Association chairman’s comments were put to Hodgson on the eve of England’s qualifier against Lithuania, which he insists is his only focus right now.
“Yes, absolutely (I am relaxed) – that’s what I have been saying all along,” the Three Lions boss said.
“At the moment we have got an important task ahead of us. It is all very well talking about England in France and what England do in France, but we’re not there.
“We’ve got six qualifiers to win, six matches to win. That’s a big enough task, a big enough challenge.
“I am perfectly happy with that. What I’ve said when I have been asked a question about my future is exactly what Greg has said. It seems we’re all singing off the same hymn sheet there.”
Hodgson certainly seems to have the backing of his players, with captain Rooney the latest to express his desire for him to stay on.
“Obviously that’s down to the FA and down to Roy, but since I’ve worked with Roy as manager he’s been fantastic for me and great for the team,” Rooney said, speaking alongside Hodgson.
“Hopefully they’ll sit down and sort something out and we’ll have a few more years with him.”
The England manager will be 70 when the 2018 World Cup comes along, making it unlikely he will still be in charge when Qatar hosts the tournament four years later.
The controversy surrounding the 2022 edition has been well documented, but Hodgson foresees no problems for the Three Lions when it comes to playing a winter tournament.
“The fact is that September, October and November are normally quite good times for us to play our international matches,” he said.
“The players have had a break in the summer and are fully attuned to the level after two or three months, so I would think for European teams it won’t be any disadvantage at all.
“Where the disadvantage comes, which has been well documented, is the various leagues in European countries – not all of them because some of them play year-round, April to November, but a lot of others play September through to May.
“It gives them a problem. If we are just talking about the World Cup itself, I don’t think it will be a disadvantage for European teams and certainly won’t be a disadvantage for England.”
Hodgson’s Lithuania counterpart Igoris Pankratjevas is meanwhile preoccupied with the short term and the possibility of facing Harry Kane.
Although he is untested at the highest international level, Pankratjevas knows Kane’s Premier League record and was also present when the striker scored a late winner for Gareth Southgate’s Under-21s in a European Under-21 qualifier.
“I know Harry Kane has scored 29 goals in all competitions so that fact speaks for itself,” he said. “He played in Lithuania recently and he is a strong forward.”
Lithuania visit Wembley having won two of their opening four Group E qualifying campaign fixtures.