London: Roy Hodgson is thinking of using a sports psychologist in order to help England overcome their perennial penalty shoot-out problems.
England’s spot-kick loss to Italy at the 2012 European Championships, with Hodgson then their manager, was their sixth in seven shoot-outs at major tournaments.
And the thought of going out the same way at this year’s World Cup in Brazil is something England boss Hodgson is keen to do all he can to prevent.
And that could mean turning to the services of a sports psychologist, although Hodgson, who later this week names his squad to play Denmark in a Wembley friendly, made clear this would be under certain conditions only.
“We are considering the possibility of inviting someone with us, but it would have to be someone accepted by the group,” Hodgson told Sky Sports’ Footballers’ Football Show on Monday.
“I’m not sure shipping someone in to give the players a lecture will work. It will have to be somebody who gets to know them.
“I think there’s a possibility that we should just be encouraging players to know their penalty, to practise their penalty.
“We might have one or two very confident penalty-takers, but there are others who are a bit less confident and it’s a matter of how we get to them.
“We need to know that when they go up they are as well prepared as they can be.
“It will be about their character, their confidence and their ability to block out the next morning’s headlines.
“If a psychologist can find a way to block that out then we’d be very, very happy.”
Someone who will speak to the squad before the World Cup is British cycling boss Dave Brailsford, the man behind a slew of Olympic gold medals and the Tour de France triumphs of Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome.
“Dave Brailsford will come and speak to us, which we are looking forward to,” Hodgson said.
“He will basically talk to us about his experience and how he has found it preparing a team of the British cyclists’ quality to win gold medals and to give the players a bit of a feel maybe as well that this is a fantastic occasion.
“One forgets sometimes how important these tournaments are and what big occasions they are, you don’t get that many shots at it and you have a lot of time to regret if you don’t give it your best shot.
“I bet the world is full of players who reflect back on tournaments they have had and have said ‘I wish had done a bit more, I wish I had concentrated a bit more, I wish I had known then what I know now’.
“Maybe Brailsford can put a few thoughts in their head.”
Last March, Brailsford suggested England needed to “silence their chimp” if they were to enjoy shoot-out success.
“In sport people talk about the zone, switch off the frontal lobe, emotional engagement,” Brailsford said then. “Switch off the chimp. Penalty kicks are a great example [of how] silencing the chimp would be beneficial.”