Ray Houghton knows a thing or two about the European Championships, with the Liverpool icon part of the Republic of Ireland’s first ever squad to reach the Euros in 1988.
The midfielder is famously remembered for inflicting an opening group game loss on England in that tournament, scoring the only goal in a 1-0 win against the Three Lions.
Roy Hodgson will be hoping that his side get off to a better start than Bobby Robson’s in 1988, but a lot will depend on getting the formation and starting XI right, and that XI needs to include Nathaniel Clyne:
“Clyne has got to go, for me, I think Clyne’s probably a better all-round player then maybe Walker.
“Maybe a better defender. But both are great going forward, both have great attitudes, great engines up and down the pitch. So I think that’s hugely important.”
Entering an international tournament on the back of losing the Europa League Final will certainly effect Clyne and his fellow Liverpool team-mates in the squad, though. Houghton believes Hodgson managing their disappointment is key if the Three Lions are going to enjoy any success:
“All Roy’s got to do, In my opinion, with the Liverpool boys is get them ‘up. It has been a disappointing
“It happened to us in ’88, we lost the FA Cup Final to Wimbledon. And I remember John Aldridge missed a penalty, think he was the first player to ever miss a penalty in the FA Cup Final and it was hard to get John back up. It took a wee while.
“He was fine by the time he got to the game against England but I remember we had a camp in Ireland for a few days and we were out having a game of golf and John was still talking about it, he couldn’t let it go.
“And that’s what Roy has got to do with the Liverpool players, he’s got to get them all refocused: ‘Okay boys that’s gone boys, there’s nothing you can do about that but just make sure you’re ready to perform in the game.”
Ray Houghton was speaking at the William Hill Euro 2016 preview evening.