Hodgson banks on energy of youth

Gary Cahill is one of the more experienced players in Roy Hodgson's squadGary Cahill is one of the more experienced players in Roy Hodgson's squad
Gary Cahill is one of the more experienced players in Roy Hodgson's squad
Roy Hodgson is confident his 'very talented' England squad will flourish in France, despite being the youngest at Euro 2016.

The Three Lions were the first side to qualify for the tournament, sealing their place with three matches to spare last September.

Hodgson’s men ended qualification with a 100 per cent record and crossed the Channel in good spirits, having won hard-fought preparation matches against Turkey, Australia and Portugal.

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The squad arrived at their Chantilly training base on Monday afternoon and undertook a light training session, with preparations ramping up yesterday ahead of Saturday’s Group B opener against Russia.

“It’s what we’ve been looking forward to for such a long time,” England manager Hodgson said.

“We qualified quite early so we’ve had our minds on this moment for a long time and it’s just great to be here. I think it will be a very good tournament with a lot of good teams taking part.

“We are relaxed and we think we are in decent form and just hoping we can show that on the field.

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“The message to the players is we have to show confidence in ourselves.

“I would like the players to show as much confidence in themselves as we, the coaching staff, have in them, and we know we have a lot of very talented footballers.

“The one thing we don’t have is a lot of experience but often the energy and enthusiasm the young players will show will make up for that.”

England flew into Paris’ Le Bourget Airport from Luton on Monday, before making the 20-mile journey to their training base in Chantilly.

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Gary Cahill, one of the most experienced members of the squad, described the mood as “nice and relaxed and calm” ahead of Group B getting under way against Russia in Marseille.

“It’s a new experience for the guys who haven’t been in a tournament before, but one they should be looking forward to and I know they are,” the centre-back said. “The mood’s relaxed and ready to get down to business.

“We’ve had some good training sessions and a good few weeks’ preparation. The lads are just excited to get started.”