by SHAUN CUSTIS
ROY HODGSON will tell his players in the dressing room tonight they have what it takes to challenge for the Euro 2012 prize.
The England boss expects the Three Lions to roar and vows they will do everything in their power to make the nation proud.
Hodgson will deliver his rallying speech before the players run out against France in the cauldron of the Donbass Arena here in Donetsk.
He said: “My message will be, ‘We’ve done the best preparation that we can possibly do, I think you’re ready and I think you’re good enough’.
“I will tell them to have the confidence and the belief to get out there and show it and not to get suicidal if for some reason things don’t work out.
“We’ll be doing our level best to send the fans home happy and not send them home disappointed.
“We can’t offer them more than that and we can’t promise them more than that — it’s the only sensible promise anyone can give.
“But I’m really quite surprised that I’m as confident of what the players are going to show the nation and do for the nation as I can possibly be.”
But Hodgson admitted: “Training is training, matches are matches and I’ve been in football long enough to know that things don’t always click when the big day comes around.
“It’s 90 minutes on the stage and all you can hope for is that the better you rehearse and the better you prepare, the better chance you will have of a good performance on the night.
“It isn’t a given, but one thing I’m certain of is that the players really want to give a good performance.
“If they don’t give one it won’t be because their minds weren’t there or their focus wasn’t there or they didn’t care enough.
“But it’s a football match and you have to deal with disappointments in the game and decisions that happen. You can go a goal down and they close you off, you go a goal up and you lose concentration and they get an equaliser.”
Captain Steven Gerrard said: “We’ve all got to turn up and we’ve all got to perform well at the right time.
“There’s no point one or two turning up or you’ll go home early.
“But it is important after this first game that if we win we don’t get carried away and think we’re going to win it and if we lose it’s not suicide as there are still two games to recover. It’s very important, we need the right result — but it’s not the end of the world if we don’t get it.”
Wayne Rooney is suspended for the first two Group D matches.
Gerrard added: “He’s itching to get out there and play. Any team would miss Wayne Rooney.
“We hope he can be the difference for us in that third game and get us into the latter stages.”