London: England manager Roy Hodgson is considering employing the services of a sports psychologist to help his players conquer their perennial penalty shoot-out jitters.
James Milner (left), coach Gary Neville and Ashley Cole walk off after England lost the EURO 2012 quarter-final against Italy. Pic/Getty Images
The Three Lions' spot-kick defeat to Italy at the 2012 European Championships — under Hodgson's supervision — was their sixth in seven attempts at the mini-game in major tournaments.
So as preparations continue in earnest for England's forthcoming World Cup campaign in Brazil, he is especially keen to see those players who suffer from what he calls a fear of "the next morning's headlines" cured.
The veteran coach confirmed players would be intensely drilled in scoring from 12 yards at their pre-finals training camp in Portugal, but conceded bringing a professional sports psychologist along could be similarly effective.
Speaking to Sky Sports' Footballers' Football Show, he said: "We are considering the possibility of inviting someone with us but it would have to be someone accepted by the group. I'm not sure shipping someone in to give the players a lecture will work. It will have to be somebody who gets to know them.
"I think there's a possibility that we should just be encouraging players to know their penalty, to practise their penalty. We might have one or two very confident penalty-takers, but there are others who are a bit less confident and it's a matter of how we get to them.
"We need to know that when they go up they are as well prepared as they can be. If a psychologist can find a way to block that out then we'd be very, very happy."