Roy Hodgson: England manager critical of NFL game scheduling

England boss Roy Hodgson
Hodgson's England have won their first three Euro 2016 qualifiers

England boss Roy Hodgson has questioned the Football Association's decision to allow an NFL game to take place at Wembley six days before his side's Euro 2016 qualifier against Slovenia.

Sunday's match between Jacksonville Jaguars and Dallas Cowboys is the third NFL match at Wembley this year.

"I don't really think you could expect me to say 'excellent, delighted, well done'," said Hodgson.

"If I was asked if it was a good thing or not, I would have to say not."

Hodgson, who gave West Brom striker Saido Berahino a first senior international call-up on Thursday, added: "I can't pretend it is something that makes me leap for joy.

"The pitch, unfortunately, is not in the best of nick anyway, which we're all a bit unhappy with."

After regular complaints by Hodgson's predecessor Fabio Capello, the FA laid a new pitch at the venue four years ago.

NFL games at Wembley
Wembley hosted one regular game a season from 2007-2012
In 2012 the Jacksonville Jaguars said they had agreed to play a home game in London from 2013-2016
As a result, the number of regular-season games was increased to two in 2013 and three in 2014
The 2015 games will feature New York Jets v Miami Dolphins (4 Oct), Buffalo Bills v Jacksonville Jaguars (25 Oct) and Detroit Lions v Kansas City Chiefs (1 Nov)
The average crowd for the 10 games held from 2007 to date is 82,762

The FA board sanctioned the NFL's partnership with Wembley, which is now in its eighth year and has three more games lined up for 2015.

One of those will take place on 4 October - just five days before England host Estonia in their last home Euro 2016 qualifier.

Before then, the venue will also be hosting two Rugby World Cup games - New Zealand v Argentina on 20 September and Ireland v Romania a week later, as well as the Rugby League Challenge Cup final in August.

"It is a decision Wembley has made and I know the ground staff will work very, very hard to give us the best pitch they can give us," said 67-year-old Hodgson, who hopes Club England managing director Adrian Bevington will report to the FA board on the matter.

"Hopefully in the future the pitch will recover to its normal level and when it has done that we will be better able to support this type of activity," he added.

England have won their first three qualifiers and will go six points clear at the top of Group E with victory over Slovenia on 15 November.

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