Hodgson focused on bigger picture

Burnley and Pendle Citizen: Roy Hodgson saw reasons to be positive in England's defeat to Sweden Roy Hodgson saw reasons to be positive in England's defeat to Sweden

Roy Hodgson is not going to allow one moment of genius from Zlatan Ibrahimovic to obscure a night of progress for England in Sweden.

England were already sliding to defeat before Ibrahimovic converted an overhead kick which will feature in any montage of great goals. That was the Paris St Germain striker's fourth goal in Sweden's 4-2 win, meaning he will forever be linked with the Stockholm friendly which officially opened the Friends Arena.

But for England coach Hodgson, it might just be the night that set his side on the right road to Brazil 2014, and he said: "Despite the defeat, I take a large degree of optimism from this game. Strangely, I would have been more disappointed if we'd sneaked a draw but looked totally outplayed or uncomfortable."

He went on: "One or two players really took their chance and showed that in 2013 we might have a bigger squad than we once thought."

It was in the aftermath of the Euro 2012 shoot-out defeat by Italy that Hodgson claimed revolution was in the air. At the time, few believed him.

After all, by his own admission Hodgson selected a "conservative" squad for Poland and Ukraine, which was in keeping with the no-frills approach his side adopted throughout the tournament.

Less than five months later, while not exactly presiding over an unrecognisable group of players, the serious injection of new faces is impossible to ignore.

"There's a few I didn't have in mind at the start of the season," Hodgson said.

"(Tom) Cleverley would come into that category, as would (Daniel) Sturridge and (Steven) Caulker.

"If anything, we have become a lot less conservative and the players have responded very positively."

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