England manager Roy Hodgson has dismissed comments by Wales winger Gareth Bale, who questioned his side’s passion in the build-up to the crucial Group B clash between the two teams on Thursday.
Hodgson’s comments came after Real Madrid star Bale last week said that England always “big themselves up before they’ve done anything,” and that Wales players had “a lot more passion and pride”.
“Receiving disrespectful comments is part and parcel of being a footballer and a football coach,” Hodgson told reporters. “I don’t ever comment on other people. I’ve been in the game sufficiently long to know every opponent has got an opinion, the other day it was [Russia goalkeeper Igor] Akinfeev saying we were the worst seeded team and now it’s Gareth Bale.”
“They can have those opinions but I don’t have any doubts personally about our patriotism or desire and that’s the important thing. If he believes that that’s the case, he’s welcome to that opinion.
“But we know who we are, we know what we are. We don’t have any doubts about ourselves in that respect.”
The game is crucially important to both teams, with England looking to get a first win following their disappointing 1-1 draw with Russia, while a Wales victory could potentially seal top spot in the group for Chris Coleman’s team after their opening 2-1 win over Slovakia.