9 October 2014 23:15
Roy Hodgson hailed England’s professionalism as they cruised to a routine 5-0 win over San Marino in Thursday’s Euro 2016 qualifier.
England came into the game virtually assured of victory, facing a San Marino side ranked 208th in the world – the joint-lowest nation along with Bhutan.
The visitors were camped in their own half for the majority of the game at Wembley, as Phil Jagielka, Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck, Andros Townsend and an Alex Della Valle own goal earned England a second victory from two Group E fixtures.
And Hodgson was especially pleased with how his players fought to regain the ball on the rare occasions that possession was squandered.
“The thing that impressed me the most was when we lost the ball, we had three or four players sprinting back to try and win it back,” he told ITV.
“That type of desire in a game where you’ve wrapped up the game is very commendable.
“It was a job well done. The crowd [55,990] were fantastic, they’ve had an enjoyable night and saw a lot of attacking football.
“It could have been more but I can’t fault the players. I’m pleased we’ve got this game behind us, we won it comfortably and added five goals to our tally.
“In the first half of these games when they’re getting 10 men behind the ball, that’s the time you’ve got to wear them down and keep plugging away and doing the right things.
“If you do that, it’ll open up in the second half and there’ll be chances. The way the players approached it was very good. What we learnt was the players have got the ability against teams doing this to do the right thing for 90 minutes.”
Jack Wilshere echoed the sentiments of his manager and insists he has no preference between playing in a more advanced position or a deep-lying role in the midfield.
“We did what we had to do,” he said. “We knew we were going to win, it’s a matter of keeping concentration and keeping going.
“We know once we got it [the first goal] we could get a few. It was a very professional performance. We showed them respect and kept going.
“I’m happy to play either. I enjoy getting forward and I enjoy getting on the ball and starting attacks.
“We didn’t play against one of the top nations in the world but we had to do a job and we kept going.”