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England's Hodgson ponders use of psychologist to improve penalty hopes

England manager Roy Hodgson is considering the possibility of hiring a psychologist in order to assist his players in coping with the potential of a penalty shootout at Brazil 2014.

The Three Lions were beaten 4-2 by Italy in the shootout in the quarter-final stage of Euro2012 after a 0-0 draw which follows five other occasions where they were knocked out of a major tournament on penalties.

England lost 3-1 to Portugal at Germany 2006 after another scoreless stalemate, were beaten 6-5 by the Portuguese at Euro2004 in Portugal after extra-time ended 2-2, experienced elimination in the Round of 16 phase at France 1998 at the hands of Argentina, lost to Germany in the semi-finals of Euro 1996 in London and succumbed to West Germany in the semi-finals at Italy 1990.

This has prompted Hodgson, and the FA's chief World Cup planner Adrian Bevington, to ponder the option of using a psychologist to help the Three Lions players mentally get through another possible shootout.

"I'm not averse to using a psychologist," he told a Footballers' Football Show special on Monday.

"We are considering, with Adrian's help, the possibility of inviting someone with us but I think it's very important they're someone who is part of the group. I'm not sure just suddenly shipping someone in to give the players a lecture would work.

"I think there's another possibility we should be encouraging payers to know their penalty, to practise that penalty. When you practise penalties within your group the goalkeeper knows the players, so maybe we won't do it with a goalkeeper.

"Maybe we'll have target area No 1 and target area No 2 and we'll insist the player hits those targets. There are a lot of things that can be done but the bottom line is always going to be there'll be players who are less confident than others.

"It's a matter of how we assure ourselves that when those players go up they are as well prepared as they can be. In the final analysis it will be their character, their confidence and their ability to block out tomorrow morning's headlines.

"Some players are good at that, other players find it harder. If a psychologist can find a way of getting a player to block that out we'll be very very happy."

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Andrew Slevison
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Andrew Slevison

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