Hodgson - Olympics set benchmark
England coach Roy Hodgson has claimed it is not just football players who have been given a wake-up call by the Olympics extravaganza - the fans have too.
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Hodgson noted the different atmosphere he encountered at the Community Shield on Sunday with the joyous scenes in the Olympic Park over the past fortnight.
So, whilst he does accept there are lessons to be learned on the pitch, where "a benchmark has been set", he does not believe players are the only ones who should be judged.
"A benchmark has been set and we must accept that in football, cricket, rugby and the other major team sports we will be under a little bit more of the spotlight," he said.
"But I wouldn't mind the spotlight also being focused on the crowd.
"What made the Olympics was the incredible support the athletes got and the tremendous behaviour of the spectators.
"Performing at the Olympic Stadium, with 80,000 people supporting you is a bit different to being away from home in an English stadium with quite a few people trying to upset you as much as they possibly can.
"You can't compare the atmosphere and the way people behaved in the Olympic Stadium with the game I saw on Sunday. It was a very different public to the one our athletes perform in.
"Maybe it was a wake-up call for us all that you don't need that hatred that football players have to suffer when they are playing."
It seems like a forlorn hope. And it has to be remembered Luis Suarez was also part of the Olympics when he was being booed playing for Uruguay.
At least the fact Wednesday's friendly between England and Italy is being played in neutral Switzerland should ensure the edge is taken off any hostility between the two teams.
And both Hodgson and opposite number Cesare Prandelli have a wider vision that simply emerging victorious from their Euro 2012 quarter-final rematch, from which only five members of the respective starting line-ups have made the trip.
"I will be disappointed if we lose but I am also hoping to see a few things that excite me and give me hope that we have a strong squad that will make the qualification," said Hodgson.
The most obvious one is in goal, where either John Ruddy, Jack Butland or both will make their debuts.
In Butland's case it would represent a massive show of faith given the 19-year-old's only previous senior experience prior to the Olympic tournament was the 24 games he played in League Two for Cheltenham last season.
Yet Ruddy was originally earmarked as cover for Joe Hart, who withdrew with a back injury, and with only six substitutes permitted from the remaining 19 members of his squad after Theo Walcott was pulled out prior to departure, Hodgson is making no promises for either man.
"I haven't given an indication," he said.
"As far as Jack and John are concerned they are pretty much neck and neck for a place in the team.
"I have still to decide whether I just choose one or whether we have enough substitutes to give both of them a game.
"I have to be a little bit careful when we can only use six."
The one definite is that Frank Lampard will captain the side.
At 34, question marks were raised over Lampard's international future when he was forced to miss Euro 2012 with a groin injury.
It seems Hodgson never had the same worries. And it is obvious the veteran Chelsea man still has a role to play.
"We missed him during the Euros," said Hodgson.
"When you have a player of Frank's quality it is a great pity when they get injured. It was the same with Gareth Barry. That was a blow too.
"At least Frank is back and we have the added bonus of Michael Carrick being keen to play for us.
"That is another quality player we didn't have during Euro 2012."