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Roy Hodgson’s proudest moment of 2015: Leading England against France at Wembley

With a record of played ten, won seven, drawn two and lost just one, Roy Hodgson can look back at 2015 with satisfaction.

The England manager guided his team to Euro 2016 with a perfect record and has seen a solid pool of 33 players perform with consistency.

But there is one highlight that really sticks out in his memory, and it came at Wembley in November as they faced France just days after the terrible terrorist attacks in Paris.

Football came together at England’s national stadium in honour of those affected by the events in the French capital, and Hodgson was proud to lead the nation on such an emotional night.

“It’s always the last game that sticks out in your memory and in particular this year with that momentous occasion when we played France – not just for football reasons but for the reasons of solidarity and unity within the football community,” Hodgson.

“That game is always going to be one that lives with me.

“Every time there’s an England game I feel pretty good about the situation and proud to be leading the team.

“But on that night there was an extra dimension to the honour and the responsibility.

“I was really pleased that The FA took care of the occasion so well and was very proud of our young team in terms of how they approached the game and they won the game.”

The match ended 2-0 in England’s favour, their first victory over the French in more than 18 years, and Hodgson’s starting team included six players aged 22 or under.

One of those, Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Dele Alli, smashed home a stunning opener before captain Wayne Rooney bagged his 51st goal for his country to wrap up the year in style.

The result helped to cancel out the disappointment of England’s only loss of the year – away in Spain four days earlier.

And the manager says he was able to learn from the defeat with the ultimate aim of being ready for next summer’s Euros in his mind.

“There were more positives than negatives because for 70 minutes, until they scored that goal [through Mario Gaspar], which was a bit of a wonder goal from a counter-attack rather than one they had been trying to build, I thought we were handling ourselves quite well,” he said.

“I thought we were on the way to a very creditable draw, or even a victory, due to the fact we had our chances when we broke free.

“We learned that we can deal with a team of Spain’s quality, with their passing ability, albeit we have to make sure we don’t concede any more wonder goals.”

The Three Lions travel to France in June looking for an improvement on their last tournament display when they were knocked out at the group stage in Brazil.

In the 18 months following their early return from south America, the 2-0 defeat in Spain remains their only reversal.

Hodgson has also had to deal with the retirements of some key, experienced personnel – such as Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard – but feels his young team are in great shape going into 2016.

“It’s been a good achievement to go through the qualifying campaign unbeaten. It started directly after the World Cup, so really it’s been a very good 18 months with 17 games played and only one defeat,” Hodgson said.

“I think we’d have settled for that, especially given the amount of changes we’ve made in the team and the squad.

“I’m pleased with the progress we have made and in particular I am very pleased with the emergence of so many young players.

“We thought there was some good young talent out there but they were going to be filling some very big shoes.

“Between 2012 and 2014 a lot of very good players retired from the England scene and although we knew there were some very good youngsters out there, we didn’t quite know how quickly or how well they would adapt to international football and we’ve all been very pleasantly surprised by their progression and their development.

“That was probably most evident in the last game against France where with 12, maybe even 14, regular players missing, we could still field a very good team and beat a very good team at Wembley.”