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Hodgson's mind is focused on Euros.

Byline: Martyn Ziegler in St Petersburg

ROY Hodgson says he will not focus on his own future as England manager ahead of today's 2018 World Cup draw.

Hodgson is in the position of representing England and the Football Association in St Petersburg without knowing if he will still be manager of the national team beyond the end of the Euro 2016 finals.

He also believes England has a core of good young players who could make an impact in 2018 in Russia.

Hodgson said: "Regarding my own future, I am fully focused on preparing England for the Euros and - like the players - am determined to make an impact on the tournament. Therefore, my mind is firmly on securing qualification and preparing well for France."

He added: "It's important to be at the World Cup draw on behalf of the Football Association. Almost all of the 209 Fifa nations are represented here in St Petersburg and it's an opportunity for national coaches around the world to exchange ideas and talk football.

"FA chairman Greg Dyke and Fifa vice-president David Gill have - quite rightly - been extremely forthright on Fifa governance and politics in recent months and I do not intend to add to that debate this weekend.

"For me, Saturday is all about the draw and ensuring that the team are doing all the right things on and off the pitch to prepare long term for the tournament in Russia. We have a good nucleus of young players in the current senior team who could be a big part of this tournament and it's our job at the FA to ensure they fulfil their potential.

"I'm not going to tempt fate by stating who England might want to play or avoid and besides, that would be disrespectful. We've seen in the recent Euro 2016 qualification period that virtually all competitive matches are difficult."

Hodgson also revealed he hopes to arrange friendlies against the top sides in Europe both before Euro 2016 and the 2018 World Cup.

He said: "England have testing matches scheduled before the Euros against France, Germany, Spain and hopefully Holland. This follows our recent match against Italy.

"We will be looking to organise reciprocal matches with most of these teams during the World Cup qualification period so regardless of who comes 'out of the hat', England will have a balanced and competitive run of matches before the Russia World Cup."

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jul 25, 2015
Words:401
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