England 'respect' Wales, says Hodgson

Roy Hodgson (Gallo Images)
Roy Hodgson (Gallo Images)

Paris - England manager Roy Hodgson said that his team had "a lot of respect for Wales" after they were pitted against their neighbours in Saturday's draw for the 2016 European Championship.

Wales -- who will be appearing at their first European Championship - and England will meet in the northern French city of Lens on June 16, with Russia and Slovakia the other two teams in Group B.

"We are very pleased Wales have done so well, and whichever of the teams we got in that pot, it would be tough. Why not have a tough one close to home?" Hodgson told the BBC.

"We know all the Wales players - almost all of them play in England. But what we know most of all is the team is very organised, they have a strong spirit and a good spine.

"In Aaron Ramsey, Ashley Williams and Gareth Bale, they have three really top-class players. We have a lot of respect for Wales."

Wales manager Chris Coleman admitted that he would have preferred not to face England, who won all 10 of their qualifying matches, but said his side would relish the challenge.

"Well, we've got them," he said. "It will be a great game. It is two good teams and to win 10 games in the campaign is a fantastic return.

"England are one of the best teams, and we looked at it and would have wanted to avoid it, but we look forward to it."

Bale, who scored seven goals in qualifying, wrote on Twitter: "Tough @UEFAEURO draw but cannot wait to get to France, all starting to sink in now!"

Ramsey said he was already looking forward to the clash with their old rivals, tweeting: "All getting very real now the draw has been made. Can't wait to face England."

England striker Harry Kane struck a similar note, posting a picture of England's group on Twitter and asking his followers: "Who's looking forward to the summer already?"

Group A

France, Romania, Albania, Switzerland

Group B

England, Russia, Wales, Slovakia

Group C

Germany, Ukraine, Poland, Northern Ireland

Group D

Spain, Czech Republic, Turkey, Croatia

Group E

Belgium, Italy, Republic of Ireland, Sweden

Group F

Portugal, Iceland, Austria, Hungary

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England 219
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England 219
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