Today see’s Roy Hodgson take the job of England manager, a job vacated by Fabio Capello back in February. Hodgson, currently a successful manager with West Brom, has signed a four-year deal with the F.A. that will see him take charge through this summers Euro’s, and on to the 2014 World Cup.
In some ways, Hodgson’s appointment appears like a sensible decision. A very traditional English manager, determined to run his teams in the correct manner, and ensuring that his squads remain disciplined and profession at all times. He has had an extremely varied career, working in numerous European countries, including two spells with European giants Inter Milan. Roy has also managed at national level, leading Switzerland to the 1994 World Cup, and even getting them through the group stages. He has also had spells with the United Arab Emirates, and most recently with Finland.
After a largely disappointing time with Liverpool, Hodgson was quickly snapped up by West Brom, and he has gone on to have a fairly successful fist full season, and looks to be steering them towards a top half finish.
So a varied and largely impressive C.V. marks fairly good reading, and certainly a necessity for any England boss. On top of that, Hodgson is English, and fans, players, and FA personnel all seem to be in agreement that an Englishman had to be the next boss. In addition, expectations for England’s hopes are at some of their lowest in recent times, and so there is fairly little pressure on him to perform this summer.
There appears to be a rather large elephant in the room however, as no-one seems to be prepared to recognise that a certain Harry Redknapp was also interested in the job. Since Capello’s departure, everyone has seen Spurs slump down the league, and although Redknapp refuses to connect the vacant England job with their slide, his mind must have been slightly sidetracked as he waited for the inevitable approach by a member of the board. No such approach was ever made however, and even today, the FA appear not to have even mentioned Redknapp’s name as they drew up a list of candidates for the new job. Redknapp claims to be happy for Hodgson, but for a man who said that the England job is the pinnacle of any career, this has got to be hurting.
Hodgson appears to be the safe and easy option. He has a fairly consistent record, he focuses on discipline, and he has always performed in an extremely professional manner. In fact, it is not too far fetched to draw connections between him and his predecessor Fabio Capello.
Although Capello had never managed an international team, he had a varied and successful career throughout Europe. Like Hodgson, he focused on discipline, professionalism, and a correct attitude to the game. He often appeared humourless, cold, but certainly gave his all. Hodgson, in many ways, could be seen as the English equivalent of Capello. England failed under Capello, because in an environment where they were spending time with him every day, they couldn’t cope under the rules and regulations that he imposed. Fabio Capello guided England through two extremely successful qualifications. The team seemed to dominate throughout the season, gelling and leading to the traditional media hype. When the crunch came though, they couldn’t perform, and in hindsight many of the players focused on the uncomfortable atmosphere around the camp that surely came as a result of Capello’s rule.
Hodgson could be a great appointment. With no pressure, and a good track record, it’s fair to say that England fans are more inquisitive that demanding when it comes to Euro 2012. But he must be careful. Hodgson needs to relax the players out in Poland and Ukraine. He needs to instil a mentality that allows them to go out and perform to their best ability, and most of all enjoy playing on one of the biggest stages in the world.
As I said, Hodgson appears to be a safe choice. Redknapp doesn’t always do things by the book. He often appears as a friend to the players, laugh’s and jokes, and often talks like a fan. Redknapp has had his problems this season, both for Spurs and in his personal life, but it seems that a character such as his would have brought that calm naturally to the dressing room. Recent reports of player protests aside, Harry always seems to have teams that WANT to play for him, and that may have been crucial as an England boss. As England fans, I’m sure we’ll all get behind Hodgson and wish him well, but at the same time, we’ll all be wondering what would have happened if the FA had been bold and made the decision the fans wanted.
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