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ROY'S RIO BRAND; SAMBA SUMMER: HOW OTHER SPORTS CAN GIVE LIONS SECRET OF SUCCESS; Hodgson casts his net wide for gurus from cricket and rugby union to help England impress at the World Cup.

Byline: MARTIN LIPTON Chief Football Writer

ROY HODGSON will tap into British sport's finest brains trust to give England a fighting chance of exceeding World Cup expectations.

He has already sounded out England rugby coach Stuart Lancaster and Sir Clive Woodward about their approach to life on tour.

And after sealing the Three Lions' spot in Brazil, Hodgson plans to turn to Ashes-winning coach Andy Flower and British Lions boss Warren Gatland to get their inside tips on running a happy ship.

Hodgson's Euro 2012 base in Krakow was a far healthier environment than the 'golden cage' and five-star boot camp under Fabio Capello's austere regime in Rustenburg in 2010.

Now the manager and his squad potentially face up to seven weeks together with a planned stay of a fortnight in the USA before they arrive at their Rio de Janeiro hotel.

And Hodgson is determined to learn from those who have successfully managed time, egos and the pressure of the biggest challenges. He said: "You learn from other sports. I've had some dealings with Stuart Lancaster and Sir Clive Woodward from rugby union.

"I met Andy Flower at a function and we agreed that when his busy time with the Ashes in the summer was over and mine trying to qualify was over, we'd get together over a coffee and swap some stories.

"I'm very interested to hear how they approach things. It will be interesting to talk to the Lions people as well.

"They have long periods away from home because they go so far. I'm all ears. Any information we can get to improve our knowledge, the better it is."

Hodgson is no World Cup novice, having taken Switzerland to the USA in 1994.

He said: "I remember all the preparation and thought that had to go into getting the players hydrated and in condition to play. Then there's the question of how you occupy their time without them getting bored or thinking we're doing too much work.

"It's an unbelievably delicate balance. There's no correct answers. You've got to learn to live away from your family and friends - and your normal life.

"These players are very young and I found that very hard in America with the Swiss boys to get that right."

One guarantee is no return to the WAGs circus of Baden Baden in 2006.

Having come through an ordeal by fire, Hodgson appears emboldened by qualification. But there are no wild predictions, just quiet reflection on a job well done.

"I don't know any vindication for me is necessary," said Hodgson, declining to be drawn on whether Harry Redknapp (left) sent him a congratulatory text message.

"The way you play depends on the players available.

"Daniel Sturridge is a bold player, the same applies to Jack Wilshere - a great talent who can change games.

"But he can only help when he's there and he's not been there. Wayne Rooney has been fantastic, Kyle Walker took his chance and suddenly the solutions in terms of picking the teams are greater. The other thing was the emergence of Andros Townsend.

"We showed courage on him, and Ray Lewington and Gary Neville must take a lot of credit for that. We knew he was the right type but he'd never shown it at that level, on that stage.

"You make a decision for the right reasons and sometimes you are lucky."

Boldness earned Hodgson his reward. Now he gets the chance to see the job through.

Anything that Gatland and Flower can help him bring to the party will be precious.


Goalkeepers: Joe Hart, Ben Foster, Jack Butland

Defenders: Glen Johnson, Kyle Walker, Ashley Cole, Leighton Baines, Phil Jones, Steven Caulker, Gary Cahill, Phil Jagielka

Midfielders: Theo Walcott, Andros Townsend, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Jack Wilshere, Ross Barkley, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, James Milner

Strikers: Wayne Rooney, Daniel Sturridge, Danny Welbeck, Saido Berahino


Born: Cumbria, England

Age: 43

Coaching: England

Greatest triumph: England's record 38-21 victory over world champions New Zealand 2012

Biggest disappointment: Losing Grand Slam decider v Wales 2013


Born: Cambridgeshire, England

Age: 57

International coach: England, British & Irish Lions

Greatest triumphs: World Cup winners 2003; Grand Slam 2003

Biggest disappointment: Lost Lions 2005 tour of New Zealand 3-0


Born: Cape Town, South Africa

Age: 45

Coaching: England

Greatest triumphs: Ashes series 2009, 2011 (away), 2013; India 2012 (away); World T20 2010; No.1 Test ranking

Biggest disappointment: Losing No.1 ranking in defeat to South Africa at Lord's 2012


Born: Hamilton, New Zealand

Age: 50

International coaching: Wales, Ireland, British Lions & Irish

Greatest triumphs: Grand Slam 2008, 2012. Won 2013 Lions tour of South Africa 2-1;

Biggest disappointment: Losing 2011 World Cup semifinal to France


I'LL LISTEN AND LEARN Hodgson says he will be all ears when he meets up with leaders from the world of sport
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Title Annotation:Sport; Opinion, Columns
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Oct 17, 2013
Previous Article:No seeds of doubt for Lions.

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