LONDON: Roy Hodgson has been forced to scrap a planned get-together with his England players after failing to find a suitable date for the meeting with Premier League clubs.
Hodgson, wary of the fact there is a four-month gap in the international calendar, wanted his players to gather for a meeting at the end of January.
The England manager was keen to have dinner with his squad and go through a tactical de-briefing of November’s 3-1 win in Scotland.
The Football Association (FA) confirmed on Tuesday that no such meeting will now take place.
The FA said clubs were in favour of the meeting, but due to a busy schedule, no suitable date for all parties could be agreed.
The idea of organising two meetings – one for players based in the north and another for those based in the south – was briefly considered but Hodgson felt that would not work and he has decided to can the idea altogether.
Hodgson was insistent the players would only be away from their clubs for a few hours, but even that would have been problematic for players like Gary Cahill as Chelsea have five games in the final fortnight of January.
After Saturday’s game at Swansea, the Blues have a two-legged Capital One Cup semi-final to contend with, as well as an FA Cup tie and a top of the table clash with Manchester City.
The cancellation comes as something of a surprise as Hodgson seemed to suggest the get together had been agreed just two weeks ago.
“I enjoy working with the team enormously and therefore when my time with them comes to an end I always miss the players, the training, the work on the field. But luckily we have all agreed we are going to get together at the end of January so we can at least have some chance to review the games we have played and to think a little bit about what’s going to be important for us going forward in 2015,” the 67-year-old said in an interview with FATV.
“We can have a dinner together at least and make certain we send the players back early to their clubs because unfortunately my time with them won’t begin again until March.”
The FA said all squad members will be sent videos and information regarding their performances against Scotland digitally, as has been the case with previous debriefs.
Hodgson came in for criticism on Monday when it emerged he had not voted for either Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi at the Ballon d’Or ceremony in Zurich.
Argentina’s Javier Mascherano was his first choice for FIFA’s player of the year award. The England manager chose Germany duo Philipp Lahm and Manuel Neuer for second and third.
The choice of a defensive midfielder, a full-back and a goalkeeper raised a few eyebrows – particularly when Ronaldo and Messi plundered so many goals between them in 2014.
It is understood that Hodgson is a big fan of both attacking players, but merely wanted to give someone else a chance of winning the prestigious trophy.
The only other person to put Mascherano at the top of his list was Belarus manager Andrei Zygmantovich.