Roy Hodgson admits surprise at Gary Lineker's criticism of England in Ukraine

Roy Hodgson has launched a passionate defence of England's performances. Photo: PA

Roy Hodgson is unrepentant about the manner of England's goalless draw with Ukraine on Tuesday night.

Hodgson greeted the final whistle like an old friend, believing his side had just taken another significant step towards reaching next summer's World Cup.

The England boss has been taken aback by the subsequent criticism, led by former skipper Gary Lineker.

However, with Wembley victories now required against Montenegro and Poland next month, Hodgson is taking nothing back.

"I don't think, in any way, we have to apologise for getting a 0-0," he said.

"I am little bit disappointed if people expect us to come here all the time and win comfortably.

"I don't think that has ever happened in the past."

Despite the fact England were without Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck and Daniel Sturridge, the performance did not meet with Lineker's approval.

The second highest goalscorer in England history did clarify his comments on Wednesday.

However, he underlined his belief England remain deficient in the art of retaining possession.

It is the second time in a matter of months Lineker has expressed his displeasure with the national side.

The Match of the Day host was also scathing after the Wembley draw with Republic of Ireland in May.

"I am surprised that anyone who has played for England, captained England and played in games of this nature can be that critical," said Hodgson.

"He has done it for the second time.

"I remember Gary Lineker playing. I remember him captaining the team and playing some great games for England.

"But I am pretty sure he also played in some games where it wasn't that easy.

"I don't think every game he played for the England side was a total success."

The criticism clearly hurts. Yet in his knee-jerk reaction, Hodgson is rather ignoring the source.

Few believe the 66-year-old is doing a bad job - more that he is having to cajole performances out of a largely limited group of players.

And, having beaten only Moldova and San Marino in their qualifying campaign, yet avoided defeat completely, England are evidently based on being awkward rather than the free-flowing style Hodgson seems to think they are producing.

"If you are prepared to seriously stand there and say the England team I am coaching can't keep the ball and play out from the back or play through the midfield there is no point having a conversation because we just totally disagree," he grumbled.