Euro 2012: Roy Hodgson 'pleased' about England expectation
England manager says support from home important
Italy are 'worthy opponents' in last eight
Roy Hodgson has made a positive impact since becoming the new England manager. Photograph: Dan Rowley/Colorsport/Corbis
Roy Hodgson has chosen to embrace the growing expectation surrounding England's Euro 2012 campaign.
"I don't mind the expectation getting greater," he told BBC Sport, ahead of Sunday's quarter-final against Italy. "I am really pleased about it. We have been very buoyed by the news from home and the people we meet here. Everyone seems to be becoming an England fan again.
"That is so important for us. If you are a football player or coach, you want people to appreciate you and get behind you, you want people to give you the feeling if I do have a bad game it is not going to be a catastrophe.
"There is more of that feeling and the players are responding. Long may that continue."
Given Italy's status as four-times World Cup winners and their European Championship victory in 1968, it is easy to see why Hodgson is reluctant to claim England should be jubilant about the task that lies ahead, even if they have avoided the tournament favourites, Spain.
"It has to be an advantage not to face Spain," he said. "They are the clear favourites. They won the last World Cup and European Championships and are favourites to win this one.
"We can't deny we would rather not play them. But I have to be very careful what I say for fear of suggesting Italy are not a very good team and worthy opponents."