Roy Hodgson backs England young guns to be firing in crunch Uruguay battle to avoid World Cup elimination

Roy Hodgson believes he has got the ‘weapons’ to still cause some damage at this World Cup.

Hodgson is clearly fond of his military analogies, after urging his England team to follow the RAF motto – ‘through adversity to the stars’ – ahead of their tournament opener against Italy in Manaus.

Now he wants his ‘young guns’ to seize the initiative against Uruguay in Sao Paulo later today, knowing a defeat will send his team following defending champions Spain out of the tournament.

“Italy got really tested by the quality of our attacking play, so we’re not going to put any of our weapons down,” said Hodgson. “Any weapon we’ve got, we are going to try and use it.

“Even though it is still the group stages, this is knockout football for us now.

“We want to stay in the competition and to do that we’ve got to get results in the next two games. No-one is running away from that and it is an important moment for this squad.”

After the sweltering heat and humidity of their tournament opener in Manaus, the temperature is expected to peak at just 14 degrees in Sao Paulo, with the England manager joking the weather was making his team ‘feel right at home’.

Hodgson put his squad through their paces on the pitch at the Arena Corinthians – with injury doubts still persisting about Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s knee.

“He’s making terrific progress. He is very close but whether he’s close enough for us to risk is something I will have to check with the doctor,” he added.

Hodgson revealed he had asked senior players Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard to address the squad to pick them up after their 2-1 defeat to the Azzurri – an ‘honest and forthright’ exchange he claimed fired up his younger players.

Meanwhile, the England manager also admitted he had a plan for the return of Uruguay star Luis Suarez, who missed their 3-1 defeat to Costa Rica but will be back for La Celeste to face six of his Liverpool team-mates.

“His return will be a big boost for them,” he said.                   

“He does all the things you want a top player to do. So all we can do is make certain our defence is compact and we make it difficult for him in terms of not giving him space and the chance to do the things he wants to do.”

Image courtesy of England Football Official via YouTube with thanks

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