Roy hopes he's not being 'conned'
Roy Hodgson is far more concerned about being "conned" by his players than any other aspect of England's Euro 2012 preparation.
Hodgson: Hopes not to be let down
Almost six weeks in the job, Hodgson can be pretty pleased with himself.
Yes, the dark cloud that gathered following his axing of Rio Ferdinand triggered a pretty heavy thunderstorm and there have been minor grumbles about long-ball tactics and the lack of a penalty spot at England's training ground in Krakow.
Mostly though, Hodgson's appointment as Fabio Capello's successor has generated positive publicity; for both his willingness to engage and two friendly wins over Norway and Belgium.
However, the true test is still to come.
On Monday against France and in the subsequent meetings with Sweden and Ukraine, England will look to make an impact on the European Championships.
And Hodgson can only hope the encouragement he has taken so far does not prove to be completely misplaced.
"This could be the most terrific three weeks or the most torrid of my career," he said.
"The thing that could make it really torrid is if I get a totally different reaction in the games from what I am expecting, if these players have conned me into thinking I am working with a good bunch who won't let me, the team or the nation down.
"That would be a much more painful blow than reading I got the team wrong or the penalty spot wasn't bright enough."
Yet Hodgson could take some sort of solace from that, because he would be able to do something about it.
"This is the top job in English football but I'm not naive enough to think it will all be plain sailing.
"But if it's torrid I hope it's for the right reasons, because the players have let myself and the team down very badly and that fair-minded people are thinking 'my God what are they doing?'
"If that does happen I will learn an awful lot about what I need to do in the coming couple of years to make sure it doesn't happen in Brazil in 2014."
It is an example of the refreshingly candid approach Hodgson seems intent on pursuing to this most public of roles, even if members of the Football Association's media team recoiled at the manager's choice of words.
Hodgson cannot be condemned for that, merely hope that his decisions are judged from a mature standpoint.
One of the most significant was what his coach Gary Neville - whose appointment was an astute move - described as the "brave" move to give players more time off in the build-up, just eight training sessions prior to departure, in order to avoid the tiredness which has been such an obvious factor in past tournaments.
"Sometimes at the end of a long Premier League season you see signs of players being a little bit jaded," he said.
"I honestly don't see that.
"But let's not turn our eyes to the fact one of the things that jades players more than anything are bad results.
"We have been aided and abetted by a couple of good ones."
After all the injury scare stories, Hodgson said his only doubt for the France game is Martin Kelly, who would not have started anyway.
He knows what team he will pick. And, unlike predecessor Fabio Capello, will inform his players tomorrow evening, even though it is likely to be in the hands of rival coach Laurent Blanc well before it is announced.
Not that there are many areas of debate.
Stewart Downing and James Milner are favoured in the two wide positions, while Andy Carroll and Danny Welbeck have pressed their claims for the central striking role with decent performances over the past fortnight.
Welbeck is tipped to get the nod - but Hodgson sees merit in them both.
"If we're capable of getting good possession in midfield, sliding balls through and past, then yes (Welbeck is the better option)," he said.
"If we're obliged to play a long-ball game, maybe no.
"You can't compare Welbeck and Carroll in terms of their qualities because both are very different players. I like them both.
"Carroll was a player I watched and thought about when I was Liverpool manager, so he's been on the scene for a while.
"I do have a few options up my sleeve. Whichever one I chose, we could win the game."