England boss Roy Hodgson "ready and excited" to lead country at Euro 2012 



By Adam Higgins
Chief Football Editor 



Three Lions manager Roy Hodgson says leading England into the 2012 European Championship finals in Poland and Ukraine is the pinnacle of his career.

The England boss is excited at the challenge ahead however said that he is prepared for criticism should his players fail to impress and make an impact at the tournament. Speaking ahead of Monday's Group D opener against France at the Donbass Arena in Donetsk, Hodgson said: "It could be the most terrific three weeks or the most torrid of my career."But I am up for the challenge, otherwise I would never have dreamed of accepting the job."

England arrive in Ukraine on Sunday to conclude their final preparations for Hodgson's first competitive game in charge since succeeding Fabio Capello in May after the Italian resigned in February with their campaign opening on Monday evening against Les Bleus. And the 64-year old head coach has bluntly admitted his excitement and enthusiasm at the task awaiting him after his long career in coaching and management describing as "a personal pinnacle in the game".

"Absolutely. I'm very excited. I've been excited from the day the Football Association chairman David Bernstein called me - and through those harrowing two weeks when I was trying to juggle all the things I thought needed to be done to be prepared, as well as being West Bromwich Albion's head coach." said the former Switzerland and Finland boss.

Hodgson is also prepared for the intense scrutiny that naturally is tied with the job of England manager especially when competing at major international tournaments. Hodgson added: "This is the top job in English football. If it is the most torrid three weeks of my career I hope that it's for the right reasons. By that I mean because the players have let myself and the team down very badly, we have played very badly and that fair-minded people watching us are thinking, 'my God what are they doing?'. If that does happen, I will learn an awful lot about what I need to do in the coming couple of years to make sure it doesn't happen in Brazil in 2014. I can honestly say that's the thing that could make it really torrid for me - if I get a totally different response in the games from what I am expecting to see from these players. If they have conned me into thinking I am working with a good bunch here - that this is a bunch who won't let me or the team or the nation down - then suddenly, in three games they really do that, then this would be a real painful blow for me. It would be much more painful than if I have to read that I got the team wrong, or I should have picked this player or done that, or that the penalty spot wasn't bright enough."  


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