Hodgson defends Gerrard

The Bolton News: Roy Hodgson, right, has come out in defence of his captain Roy Hodgson, right, has come out in defence of his captain

Roy Hodgson insisted England captain Steven Gerrard was harshly treated after being sent off in their disappointing 1-1 World Cup Group H qualifying draw against Ukraine at Wembley.

All in all England were shown five yellow cards and a red against Ukraine and it means Gerrard and full-back Glen Johnson, who was booked in Moldova last Friday for kicking the ball away, will now be banned for the World Cup qualifier against San Marino at Wembley next month.

Hodgson, however, criticised Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir for his handling of the game, saying: "I thought all the yellow cards were harsh. It was not a game were there were a lot of bad fouls. There were not a lot of fouls full stop. There were far too many yellow cards for the fouls that were committed and we certainly got too many."

He continued: "Steven Gerrard is certainly very unlucky to be sent off. I don't think the two fouls he was adjudged to have committed were worthy of that sanction."

The other England players booked against Ukraine were James Milner, Jermain Defoe and Joleon Lescott in a match during which England went behind to a brilliant 25-yard opener from Yevgen Konoplianka and were grateful for an 87th minute penalty from Frank Lampard after defender Yevhen Khacheridi had handled the ball.

A defiant Hodgson, however, praised England's performance.

He said: "You are always relieved when you are losing 1-0 and you get a late equaliser. I suppose all games you don't win at home people say it's not a great performance but I didn't think we did that badly.

"We kept at our task. We started poorly in the first 10 minutes but once we got into our stride we had quite good control of the game.

"We went one down to a wonder strike and from then on against a good Ukrainian team you are always going to be up against it but I was pleased with the way we kept playing our football, taking the game to them and creating chances.

"In the end we fully deserved our equaliser so I suppose I'll dodge the question whether it was a good performance or whatever and say that I was very pleased with the way the players went about their task."

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