Video: Hodgson reflects on mixed year for England

England manager Roy Hodgson's highlight of 2014 was the moment his side bade farewell to the World Cup and avoided a torrent of abuse from supporters.

Defeats to Italy and Uruguay saw England exit the Brazil 2014 tournament at the group stage prior to the concluding 0-0 draw with Costa Rica.

Yet Hodgson has chosen the moment when the England squad addressed travelling fans after finishing bottom of Group D as his year's best moment.

Merry Christmas, from Roy and the boys

Don't they all look delighted?

Credit: FA

Anyone who buys tickets to England’s next home game against Lithuania in March before December 12th 2014 will receive their match tickets in time for Christmas in an exclusive Christmas card, signed by the players, plus a voucher for a free match programme.

Hodgson planning England Christmas social

Hodgson wants to gather the players over the winter period.

Credit: PA

Roy Hodgson plans to gather his England players together at a convenient point over the winter in a bid to consolidate the "very strong bond" they have developed since the World Cup.

England ended a disappointing year on a high on Tuesday when they recorded their sixth - and most satisfying - win on the bounce.

The 3-1 victory in Scotland will not erase the embarrassment of a World Cup campaign that yielded just one point, but it has at least given the England manager cause for optimism.

Manager Hodgson believes the unity within the squad is stronger than ever. The fact that his players battled for each other and easily came out on top in the white-hot atmosphere of Celtic Park suggests he is right.

The 67-year-old is keen to make sure that does not disappear over the four-month break from international football and he is therefore keen to organise a get-together over the winter.

"What we want to do is get them together on one or two occasions," Hodgson said.
"It could be either as a whole group or two - maybe a Manchester group and a south group - and maybe have an evening with them at one stage in the Premier League calendar when they don't have three matches in a week.

"I've already broached the subject with the players and they are already on board."

Hodgson used to have six annual three-day winter training camps during the his time as Switzerland manager, but he says it would be "pie in the sky" to expect the same with England given the time constraints on Premier League players.

Hodgson is hoping top-flight managers will be receptive to the idea of a short meeting though.

"I'll have to talk to the clubs about that because I don't have the right," he said.
"But I'd be very surprised if any of them said: 'No, we don't want to do it'."

The three-hour meeting would mainly concentrate on tactics, but would also involve a social element such as a squad dinner.

"The bond is very good," Hodgson added.

"They've been a real pleasure to work with. That's not just the last six games and six weeks - they've been a pleasure to work with in the last two-and-a-half years.
"We like each other's company."