Hills: Euro pain made Lions roar

Toni Duggan, right, celebrates her hat-trick. Picture: Barry Zee
Toni Duggan, right, celebrates her hat-trick. Picture: Barry Zee
Conor Chaplin in action against Northampton. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey’s Checkatrade kick-off time rescheduled

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Brent Hills believes the pain of England’s Euro failure was behind their Turkey demolition.

The Three Lions maintained the perfect start to their World Cup qualifying campaign with an 8-0 romp at Fratton Park last night.

Six first-half goals were served up in a perfect attacking display as the national side returned to the city for the first time in nine years.

It put England top of their qualifying group after two games and went some way to erasing their nightmare summer.

Despite being touted as one of the tournament favourites, two defeats and a draw saw the side crash out in the group stages in Sweden.

But that seemed a world away as a hat-trick from Toni Duggan and goals from Ellen White (two), Eniola Aluko (two) and sub Natasha Dowie delivered the most emphatic of wins.

Hills felt damaged pride was a key factor in the performance.

The caretaker boss said: ‘The players tried to implement what we’ve worked on.

‘There is a bit of pride there over what didn’t happen in the Euros.

‘They wanted to make amends for it – and quite rightly so.

‘When you have a tough time people who are talented want to rebound.

‘It hurts and it was painful to go through what happened in the summer.

‘It refocuses your mind and makes you want to kick on again.

‘We’ve emphasised the basics. There is no secret formula – it’s hard work on the training field.

‘They are a talented group and they know they are not safe, so they need to fight for their position.’

Pompey proved the perfect hosts for the national women’s side on a night to savour for club and country.

A crowd of 6,293 served up a noisy atmosphere with the home fans in fine vocal form throughout.

That was appreciated by the England set-up, who were impressed with how they were received.

Hills knows all about Fratton Park and its standing in the English game.

And he would like to come back again after previous visits in 2001 and 2004.

Hills said: ‘We were pleased and I thought the attendance was reasonable.

‘The atmosphere was really good. I have been to watch games here, so I’ve heard it before.

‘The crowd were good and we would love to come back, always.

‘It would nice to come back and score even more.’

The result last night makes it 14 goals in the space of five days from their two qualifying fixtures so far.

That puts them top of the pile in group six after their 6-0 win over Belarus at Bournemouth on Saturday.

There’s still a long way to go for the side ahead of the 2015 competition in Canada, however, with Wales on the horizon at Millwall next month.

England’s wins have staked Hills’ claim for the manager’s role of the national side on a permanent basis.

He has been operating as caretaker since Hope Powell vacated the post after the Euros.

Hills said: ‘I haven’t thought about the job. It’s been very tiring.

‘There has been a lot to do and say about things.

‘I have to wait and see, I don’t know what the process is.

‘I’ve been left alone to get on with this and rightly so because I didn’t want any distractions.

‘The process is what it is, so we will wait and see.’