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May 19, 2013

Hodgson hits out at club friendlies

Roy Hodgson believes Tottenham, Manchester City and Chelsea have "scotched" the plans of the England national team by scheduling end of season friendlies in such close proximity to the end of the Premier League season.

Hodgson, who selected a 22-man squad for the upcoming friendlies against the Republic of Ireland and Brazil, will be sweating on the fitness of up to six players who will travel to America and the Bahamas next week.

With Spurs taking on the Jamaican national side and Manchester City facing Chelsea in St Louis and New York, USA, some of Hodgson's squad will only have a four-day turnaround before playing at Wembley on May 29.

The Three Lions boss insists players deserve time off at the end of the season and should not be forced into so much travel with international fixtures around the corner.

"We've been very unlucky there. I'm not going to be hypocritical about it, we brought our games forward," Hodgson said. "Our official dates are on 6 June so we'd have been keeping the players through to 7 June. Our thought a long time back was let's do it as quickly as possible after the season and get the players back home for a long rest.

"My thinking, which is based a lot on having been a club manager, is that they'll probably want a few days after the season ends, they won't want to go straight from the end of the season to us, so let them have a week and then we'll keep them a week and then they're free.

"So we've been scotched a little bit by the teams who decided to go on long close-season tours. It's made the first match a little bit difficult because some of the players will only have been back a few days when we've got to play and also we're scotched in that all the teams have decided to go far west to America and Bahamas, so they're going backward and forward on these long journeys. But that's again the situation we find ourselves in. We can't dictate to clubs what they do."

Hodgson has rallied his players ahead of the upcoming matches, claiming the honour of players representing their country is far greater than club achievements.

"Every game you play as an England player is a great opportunity. I don't think I can ever stop emphasising how important playing for England should be," he said.

"If we're not careful we're going to lose sight of the fact that, yes, the Premier League is a fantastic league and winning it is something quite fantastic to do and the Champions League and Europa League, they're big leagues too, but international football is up there apart. In my time as manager I shall always be preaching that you should never inany way debase the chance to play for England."

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