Roy Hodgson Cites Darts For England World Cup Inspiration

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So relaxed and indulgent a mood was Roy Hodgson in, it was apt he hopped on to the carefree darts bandwagon when asked about England's bid to win a first major trophy since 1966 and all that.

"You could compare it to someone who is an amateur darts player," he said. "The more darts he throws in and around the centre, one day he will get it in the bull’s-eye. If he’s spreading them around the board your chances will be less than if he’s getting them in the 25 circle.”

Chuckling as he delivered his analogy, Hodgson was at the Grand Connaught Hotel to attend the beginning of the Football Association's 150th anniversary celebrations, but delivered a 180.

Surrounded by greats from England's past including Sir Bobby Charlton, Peter Shilton, Martin Peters and Alan Shearer, he had already let his guard down when he unabashedly declared it was a case of "when" England qualified for the 2014 World Cup.

There were enough reminders of past failures. The succinct 150-year highlights reel, surprisingly narrated by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, charted the Hand of God, penalty failures and the Germans conquering on English soil in 1996.

Four of Hodgson's predecessors, including a jovial Fabio Capello, flanked him for an hour-long parade.

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Hodgson greets Capello

“I was asked if it would be nice to have a brainstorming session, if you could get five of you together, adding Keegan and Hoddle to that as well,’’ Hodgson said. “If ever that were a possibility I would love that, if a group of you could get together in a room and compare notes and ideas and hear about their experiences."

Capello, unsurprisingly, didn't hang around for the mixed zone. Seen joking with Hodgson and FA chairman Sir David Bernstein prior to the launch, despite the cold reception the weather granted Russia's coach, Hodgson said he was warm.

“Fabio was quite talkative. Quite a few times during the ceremony he gave me a nudge to tell me something," he revealed. "I’m always a bit embarrassed about talking in these ceremonies because you’re always embarrassed you’re going to be caught on camera chatting away when you should be paying attention."

Bernstein added how "tremendous" it was the Italian attended the event and described him as a "man of great dignity".

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Hodgson gave an inkling as to how life-changing his current role has been. As dignified and accommodating as usual, he did appear slightly vexed by the occasional image issues he endures.

"I do feel it. There is a lot of pressure with the job. It is very prestigious and puts you in the spotlight. You have to hope the public understand you’re nothing more than a football coach trying to do the job the best he can. You can’t satisfy all demands.

"I went to Manchester United and they drop you at the entrance and there’s 350 people around barriers screaming for autographs.”

And what about all those millions of armchair managers?

“I’m used to that!" he replied, referring to his spell in Italy.

“There are a few million Inter managers. I’ve never resented that. I’ve always been aware that football is the mass culture. Films, plays, books and operas are not for everyone but football is. It is the ultimate for me. ‘Custodian’ has got to be the word people should bear in mind all the time.”

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