How might England line up for Russia 2018?

What of the next World Cup in Russia 2018? While Hodgson puts together briefing notes on how and why England slipped into and out of South America almost unnoticed, it is to be hoped a close eye was kept on how the rest of the World Cup played out.

Apart from brief spells against Italy, England’s approach was at odds with the fast-paced, counter attacking football even so-called underdogs such as Algeria and Costa Rica were able to produce.

The task for Hodgson is to ensure England are not left staring into the distance as the rest of the football world disappears over the horizon and out of sight by the time the Russian campaign starts.

The likelihood is that Hodgson, barring a spectacular and highly-unlikely success at Euro 2016, will be preparing the ground for his successor. And despite FA backing, he knows any false moves in the Euros could result in a swing in public mood.

Hodgson will be 70 when the World Cup comes to Russia so on any level it is tough to see him in charge.

Those who took on the role of apologists for the limp effort in Brazil claimed it at least gave some youngsters a chance, however limited, so Hodgson must seize the opportunity created by their arrival or he will be considered the man who allowed England to be left behind.

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