England at Euro 2016: Gary Cahill defends Roy Hodgson changes

England defender Gary Cahill says Roy Hodgson's six changes were not to blame for the side's inability to break down Slovakia on Monday.

The goalless draw coupled with Wales' win over Russia meant Hodgson's side finished second in Group B.

"We had the ball constantly. We just didn't quite have that cutting edge to open them up," said Cahill, when asked if the changes had affected England.

"It wasn't to be. But we should have won the game."

The Chelsea centre-back added: "In games like that, you need something a little bit special - someone to shoot from outside the box or create something, which we nearly did."

Finishing second means a potentially tricky knockout stage route could include Portugal and hosts France but defender Ryan Bertrand believes tougher teams will benefit England as they will "come out some more and give us more space".

Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson added that England can "punish" sides that are more open and expansive in style.

Hodgson has faced criticism for the number of alterations he made to the starting line-up, with former England striker Gary Lineker saying before the match he felt rotation was "a hindrance".external-link

However, the England manager feels too much has been made of the impact the changes had on the team.

"What would necessarily have changed? Had Wayne [Rooney] started, would he have scored the goals the others missed from his left half position?" said Hodgson.

"Wayne and Dele Alli and Harry Kane came on and we still did not take the chances.

"But the 'six changes' [debate] amuses me. We finished the game against Wales with Jamie Vardy and Daniel Sturridge up front and people said that was positive. And now it suddenly becomes 'six changes' with those two starting. It was four changes from the side which finished the Wales game.

"If we'd won this game people would have said we didn't miss those we'd left out, and when we don't they say the team selection is wrong."

Top Stories

Elsewhere on the BBC