Many managers have come and gone, England fans and the media have expected more from the teams sent out on our countries behalf than they have given back. Now, Roy Hodgson has been given the task, not the man people wanted and with a collection of players that many wouldn’t have chosen; but is that his secret?
Is the country excited by England’s chances?… No and to an extent, good. The papers aren’t choking the back pages with patriotic support and we aren’t talking of Semi finals (that in some of the past Championships we had no chance getting to). The discussion is of a manager who is seen of not having a clue, the “disgraceful” decisions he has made and with our supposed best hopes of surviving the group stages. Public expectation is at its lowest and after two friendlies which were low key affairs, the nation’s hopes haven’t been lifted any further.
We are now thinking more realistically, but is that because Hodgson has manufactured the thought that we shouldn’t hope for very much, whilst hiding his smart plans?
The two friendly wins were cleverly done, 1-0 wins, conceding no goals- yes they were against teams who aren’t going to be in the Championships, but Germany, Italy and Portugal have not won both their last two matches running up to the Tournament. Hodgson though, in his own unique and stealth way has shown one thing, he has made his England team hard to break down; much like he did with West Brom.
With these two games he hasn’t shown his full hand either, only playing a selection of tournament team players with a mixture of squad players to win but not convincingly.
Barring injuries which can’t be foreseen by any manager, Hodgson seems to be thinking further than this tournament too, with Chamberlain, Jones, Kelly and Wellbeck included. These players seem to have the prospects of big futures within the England setup and could get real chances to start matches within this squad.
Even with himself, Hodgson seems his plain and steadily composed self in front of the cameras, is it his way or a deterring poker face?
Finally, looking at the finals as a betting man, it is a one in sixteen chance at the start and then a one in eight chance after the group stages – to win the tournament every team needs a bit of luck and with odds like that stranger things have happened.
With his steady and solid approach that he has shown already, Hodgson may surprise us with the team that no one would have chosen, from the manager no one really wanted. Only after the three group games will the question of Roy and of England really be answered.
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