What is next for Hodgson?



When Fabio Capello resigned in early February, after his disagreement with The FA over stripping John Terry of the captaincy, Harry Redknapp was being cleared of any wrong doings with his tax declarations. It seemed written in the stars that Redknapp was set to succeed the Italian and he was instantly the bookies favourite for the job.

Only two months later, after some fretting, The FA have decided to overlook the current Spurs‘ boss and have opted for another of the Premier Leagues’ senior men, Roy Hodgson. Roy’s wealth of experience, including at international level, may have been behind the appointment, added to his current con tract with West Brom being up at the end of the season. The big question is, have the FA made the right decision or appointed another Englishman to disappoint the nation?

It’s safe to say Hodgson was a surprise choice, especially when considered he was the only man the FA approached for the role. Harry Redknapp has publically declared his interest in the job on previous occasions and Spurs’ form took a dip that coincided with the England job being up for grabs but the bigwigs at the FA went straight in for Roy.

We all knew Capello was set to end his 4 year tenure after Euro 2012 this summer, however his early resignation sparked some panic amongst those at the FA in appointing a new head coach. Stuart Pearce was appointed temporary charge for the upcoming friendly against Holland at Wembley, which ended in a 3-2 defeat, and revealed he would lead the team in Poland and Ukraine if required. Pearce’s admitted lack of experience in a big job may have counted against him but he is most certainly in the FA’ plans for the future, coaching the under-21’s and set to lead the GB team at this year’s Olympics.

The FA had promised to select an English coach once Capello had seen out his contract, as it came to it once he resigned, and that saw all the usual suspects linked with th job; Redknapp, Pardew, Pearce, Curbishley and eventual successor Hodgson. Redknapp became the immediate amongst fans, players, and fellow coaches all of whom backed Harry for the job.

Alongside the collection of Englishmen being touted for the job were their foreign counterparts; Mourinho, Hiddink, Wenger, and Guardiola. Although the promise made by the FA ruled out any foreign coaches it did not stop the speculation linking them with the vacancy.

Looking at the English coaches next to those from around the world there are no comparisons to be made. The achievements and success of the foreign managers are far and away more impressive than that of any English manager. The trophies Guardiola has won alone, 13 in 4 seasons with Barcelona, outweigh the whole collection of medals held by the English contenders.

There is some admiration for the FA, they stuck to their word by appointing Roy Hodgson although the majority would rather have seen Harry Redkanpp take the reins. How would the fans have reacted if the FA’s elite had appointed another foreign manager and they led England to Euro 2012 victory? I think fans would have quickly forgotten about any promises of an English manager.

Hodgson’s international experience, with Finand, UAE and taking Switzerland to the 1994 World Cup and 3rd in the FIFA rankings, may have put him ahead of any of his competitors for the job who had only managed at club level. However his experience of international tournament football is limited to that single World Cup in ’94 where Switzerland were knocked out in the round of 16, a familiar exiting stage for England, by Spain.

Over the past few seasons Hodgson has inspired average teams in to believing they can succeed, typified by Fulham’s heroic run to the Europa League final and the survival of West Brom’s seemingly doomed Premier League campaign last year.

Looking at the England team on paper makes for interesting reading, the last few squads selected by Capello were a mix of youth and experience but full to the brim of first team footballers at their clubs. Roy may not b dealing with an average team now but one that has been performing at an average level for all too long.

The ‘Golden Generation’ of English footballers is coming to an end now and Euro 2012 may be the last chance for the likes of Gerrard, Ferdinand and Lampard to lift a trophy in an England shirt. Hodgson is the man the FA have instilled their faith in to drag the best out of the squad over the next 4 years.

There is a lot of work to be done before Hodgson and his squad head to Krakow in preparation for this summer’s tournament. The fans, the media and most importantly the players need to be won around to Roy’s footballing philosophy. England may fail to perform in Poland and Ukraine, maybe through Hodgson’s fault or not, but he has plenty of work to do for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil if the players are to emulate the glory days of Moore, Charlton and Hurst.

Sam Jewell

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