MANAGER Roy Hodgson wants to take England on the road in the build-up to Euro 2016, but concedes plans to play away from Wembley remain at a “very embryonic” stage.
The national stadium has hosted every senior home international since its reconstruction was completed, but the Football Association have recently held discussions about playing matches away from the 90,000-seater stadium.
Not since the Old Trafford friendly with Spain in February 2007 have England played on the road, but FA chief executive Martin Glenn has confirmed the governing body plan to do just that next year.
Glenn hopes that step can be taken before next summer’s European Championship, which Hodgson believes could aid their preparations for France.
“Of course I have an opinion on it because the ideas came from us in the first place,” he said. “As yet, I can’t confirm that’s what we will do. The idea has been mooted and I’ve made (FA chairman) Greg Dyke and Martin Glenn aware of a scheme or a plan that maybe we have for our preparations.
“A good idea might be to play some games outside of Wembley and take the team around the country to some extent.
“That I can say, but I can’t say any more because it is a very embryonic idea.
“It’s very different, if you like, to what traditionally has been done and when you break from tradition a lot of i’s will have to be dotted and t’s have to be crossed.
“But I can confirm we’ve had the idea, but I can’t say any more than that I am afraid.”
For now, Hodgson is focused on stepping up Euro 2016 preparations with high-profile friendlies against Spain and France. Injuries have robbed the Three Lions of 13 squad regulars, although uncapped Eric Dier was the only newcomer in the 23-man squad announced yesterday.
“He has done very well,” Hodgson said of the Tottenham defender-cum-midfielder.
“It is obviously a position in the centre of the central midfield positions and someone who has more of a defensive bent. There’s not a lot of those players available to us. We are more blessed in terms of players who are forward players or forward-looking players, attacking players.
“It was a good opportunity, having seen him do so well for Tottenham in this defensive role, to give him a chance to come and see what he can do for us and to work with us.
“He deserves his chance because in a very good Tottenham team he has been a key figure all through the league since the start of the campaign.”
Hodgson sees Dier as an alternative to Michael Carrick in a largely-inexperienced squad that will arrive in Alicante next Tuesday ahead of Friday’s friendly against Spain.
He hopes to use the extended trip as an early opportunity to get players used to staying and playing in different environments – something Wayne Rooney knows all about.
The 30-year-old captain’s 107 caps are far more than any of his team-mates have accrued and the forward will link up with the international squad buoyed by Tuesday’s winner in Manchester United’s Champions League tie against CSKA Moscow.
“It was good to see him score a goal – it has been a difficult time for him,” Hodgson said. “It was nice to see him score a crucial goal in a Champions League match.”
England squad for friendlies against Spain and France: Butland (Stoke), Hart (Man City), Heaton (Burnley); Bertrand (Southampton), Cahill (Chelsea), Clyne (Southampton), Gibbs (Arsenal), Jones, Smalling (both Man United), Stones (Everton), Walker (Tottenham); Alli (Tottenham), Barkley (Everton), Carrick (Man United), Delph (Man City), Dier (Tottenham), Lallana (Liverpool), Milner (Liverpool), Shelvey (Swansea), Sterling (Man City), Kane (Tottenham), Rooney (Man United), Vardy (Leicester).
England Under-21s squad for matches against Bosnia-Herzegovina and Switzerland: Pickford (Sunderland), Walton (Brighton), Wildsmith (Sheffield Weds); Browning (Everton), Chambers (Arsenal), Galloway (Everton), Iorfa (Wolves), Stephens (Southampton), Targett (Southampton); Baker (Chelsea), Chalobah (Chelsea), Forster-Caskey (Brighton), Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea), Ward-Prowse (Southampton); Akpom (Arsenal), Ibe (Liverpool), March (Brighton), Redmond (Norwich), Solanke (Chelsea), Watmore (Sunderland), Woodrow (Fulham).