Wilson’s Wisdom: Teams will benefit from mentality switch

England manager Roy Hodgson
England manager Roy Hodgson
Pompey midfielder Danny Rose. Picture: Joe Pepler

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Watching the last England game left me rather bemused.

Roy Hodgson has infinitely more managerial experience than me.

He also has the pressure that goes with the job. He knows the eyes of a nation are on him with every team selection he makes and knows that every word he speaks to the media will be dissected.

Expectation will always be high with the national job. He must know that.

Perhaps those expectations will always be unfairly high on Hodgson, even though there has certainly been more of a reality check in recent years.

England’s rightful place in the world standings should probably be around the top 10.

There is huge interest in the sport, there is a massive financial backing and there is enough talent who play regularly at the better clubs in the Premier League.

We may not have the absolute world’s best players to choose from – the likes of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and the rest.

But there should be enough to make a side capable of challenging to reach quarter-finals of major competitions and perhaps even go beyond that from time to time.

They just need to be given the chance to play without the handbrake on.

After a turgid 45-minute opening against Italy where I watched Phil Jones give the ball away repeatedly in midfield, Hodgson’s hand was forced when Chris Smalling went off and Michael Carrick replaced him.

When Andros Townsend and Ross Barkley were thrown on, England looked like a side capable of showing some attacking intent. They looked a decent team again.

So why did it take so long?

England have some pace and some flair in the side. They can score goals.

They look dodgy at the back at times, so it seems counter-productive to focus on something they are not as good at in trying to keep goals out.

It left me wondering why football has to be made so complicated.

And I think there are similarities with Pompey’s League Two efforts as well.

Expectation, pressure of being one of the bigger sides and a manager under constant scrutiny.

Whether it is international football or League Two, most supporters would much rather see their side having a go, attacking with some menace and showing some courage rather than sitting back and playing a more guarded style of football.

If that means their team might get picked off on a counter-attack sometimes, I think most supporters would accept that.

Perhaps that makes me a clueless footballing romantic.

Maybe the game has moved on and the more astute teams will be able to cope with that.

It might just be that as others make it too complicated, I’m making it seem too easy.

But to me, it’s about a mentality.

It’s about having the bottle to go for it in every game, seizing the initiative and trusting in your own abilities to prove it.

It could well end in failure. But if nothing else, it should make for much more entertaining viewing both on the international stage and in League Two.