Harry Redknapp was appointed by the media as the next England manager a couple of months ago, it seemed to be a done deal. Only someone forgot to mention this to the FA. They appointed Roy Hodgson to the post today.
Surprised? Yeah a little, but not nearly as surprised as the British press who gave a collective “No… Really? WTF…” today.
I’ve been thinking about this and while I don’t believe he’s the best manager around, he may be the best choice right now.
Perhaps it was in reaction to the disasters of Graham Taylor and Glen Hoddle, but since then England has tried to make big statements with their managers, and it’s not worked out too well.
Sven “Fox on the box” was a response to naive and nationally embarrassing passion of Keegan. Then once Sven was found out Steve McClaren was given the job because he was as far away from Sven as possible.
Capello came next and was hired because he was the best in the world. And how did the World cup in South Africa go in 2010?
Roy Hodgson has issues going into the job. Maybe biggest is that he’s never played at a high level and getting the respect of the players is going to be hard (re. Taylor and McClaren). But a little Wikipedia surfing says he’s the first ever England manager to have led a team to the World Cup or the European Championships. And that experience could be huge.
It’s not like Hodgson’s resume is empty. Ten league titles in Scandinavia and he took Inter and Fulham to the UEFA (Europa League) Final. Most relevant is his time managing Switzerland; he took them to both the 1994 World Cup and Euro 96.
If he can control the egos in the England camp, get the team playing together and working as a squad, rather than the collection of players we have seen so often on the international stage (and at Liverpool before King Kenny took over).
I think the biggest issue with English football is that homegrown players are simply not as skillful on the ball as those of the other big national sides. That comes down to the FA and the system they run. The level of technical coaching in England is inadequate, and until that base is in place, England will keep failing to live up to the hype.
With the glorious exception of Italia 90, I’ve spent a lifetime watching England teams get it wrong when they make it into the major tournaments. With the churn of the last six months getting out of the group stages would be an achievement at Euro2012. The manager is not the issue, they rarely are (looking at you Graham Taylor), but they are a convenient person to blame. Hodgson may not be the manager the team (or media) wants, but if he can get them to listen he may be the manager they need.
- Hodgson: The brave or safe choice for England? (itv.com)
- FA’s Hodgson choice gets Hoddle’s backing (espn.co.uk)
- Roy Hodgson Approached For England Job (news.sky.com)