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Hodgson calls for fans to get behind England

Roy Hodgson has called for England fans to get behind the national side as they prepare for Euro 2012.

The West Brom manager will start his new role as England boss on Monday, May 14, less than two weeks before England's friendly against Norway in Oslo and just four weeks before their opening Euro 2012 Group D fixture against France.

His first game at Wembley will be another Euro 2012 warm-up game on June 2.

"It is a very proud day for me, I'm a very happy man to be offered the chance to manage my country," he said.

"I'm looking forward to the task ahead. Everyone knows it is not an easy one but I'm hoping that everyone, fans and supporters will get behind the team.

Challenge

"It's the team that counts, they go out and win football matches. What I'll do is try to make sure the team is well prepared for the challenge ahead. I'm really looking forward to it."

England's new manager says the fact that he has been managing in England for five seasons means he has been able to keep tabs on the nation's top players.

"It's going to be difficult of course but hopefully I've got time. Obviously I've been working here for the last five years so the players are pretty well known to me even though I haven't worked with them all.

"I've done as much research and spoken to as many people as I can."

Hodgson added that he hopes his friendship with Harry Redknapp will not be affected, given that the Tottenham manager was the popular choice among football fans for the England job.

'I think he's dealt with the situation extremely well'

"We've unwittingly become rivals but I hope it won't affect our friendship and I think he's dealt with the situation extremely well in all his interviews."

The Baggies boss confirmed that Wayne Rooney will be in England's Euro 2012 squad even though he will miss the first two group games through suspension.

"I'm looking forward to Wayne Rooney coming to the Euros with us and making a contribution even though he cannot play the first two games.

"England always have to go in tournaments to win them because we are a major football nation. I certainly think the players would be very disappointed if we expected anything less of them than to win the tournament."

FA chairman David Bernstein said Hodgson was the "unanimous choice" of the FA board and that the governing body decided that Hodgson was their man a month ago.

'It was not a two-horse race'

He would not be drawn on why Redknapp was not approached though, adding: "It was not a two-man race. Other candidates were looked at very seriously, whose names I won't give out."

West Brom chairman Jeremy Peace admitted he was disappointed with Hodgson's departure, but says the club understand and support his decision.

Pearce said: "Roy's appointment as England manager is obviously disappointing news for the club as we would have liked him to sign a new contract, which was in the process of negotiation, and remain as our head coach.

"But we understand Roy's desire to take the England job and he will leave us after the Arsenal game on May 13 with our best wishes.

"Of course, with Euro 2012 around the corner, we appreciate that some of Roy's focus over the next 12 days will be on England matters. "But we are delighted he will be seeing the season out with us.

"With the help of the coaching staff, he will prepare the team in his usual, meticulous manner as we finish what has already been a successful season."

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