England manager Roy Hodgson is considering using a psychologist to help his side avoid more penalty heartbreak at the World Cup in Brazil later this year. "I'm not averse to using a psychologist," the 66-year-old told Sky Sports. "We are considering 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.
England have suffered a miserable record in penalty shootouts, having been knocked out of six tournaments since 1990 after failing from the spot, including their quarter-final defeat by Italy at the 2012 European Championships, Hodgson's first event in charge of the national team.
Their only success in that period came in a quarter-final win over Spain at Euro 1996, and Hodgson said he was prepared to enlist the help of a professional to help his players prepare, as well as spending time practising on the training pitch. "I think there's another possibility, we should be encouraging players 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. "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."
Hodgson has also invited Dave Brailsford, the man who helped grow British cycling into a global force, to speak to his players, most likely ahead of England's friendly against Peru on May 30.
England have been drawn alongside Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica in Group D in Brazil.