Roy Hodgson and humble pie

Musa Okwonga
hodgson 300x225 Roy Hodgson and humble pie

Roy Hodgson is set to become the next England manager

Roy Hodgson is the FA’s choice for England manager.  There have been howls of derision and disbelief.  Hodgson was not, as it turns out, most people’s obvious choice.  Not that of the England players, and not that of the media.  I, like many others, thought that Harry Redknapp was the natural option.  But then, upon hearing that the FA had chosen him, I sauntered down to the metaphorical baker’s and bought myself a humble pie.

As I munched away, I felt much better.  You see, England just aren’t world-class at the moment.  Don’t get me wrong – the England team has some fantastic players.  But Spain has a whole squad of them.  So does Holland.  So does Germany.  In fact, even if England did defeat any of these teams at the Euro 2012 tournament – which is of course a possibility – it would be regarded as a giant-killing.

Much has been made of what the players want.  Much has been made of what the media wants.  But Fabio Capello was what the players wanted.  Fabio Capello was what the media wanted.  And Fabio Capello, previously a man of senatorial dignity, was reduced to a figure of fun for much of his last days in charge, almost as ridiculed as Steve McClaren before him.

I think that Roy Hodgson’s appointment infuriates so many of us because it shows us what we really are: we are outsiders, peering up at football’s elite.  We do not swagger into the later stages of major international tournaments.  We stumble.  Before the tournament’s ties are even drawn, we peek desperately through our fingers in the hope of an easy group.

Because, deep down, I think we know.  I think we know that we need someone like Hodgson – someone who has international experience, and who can mould teams of wildly disparate talent into a solid, effective whole.  Many in England cried out for Pep Guardiola or Jose Mourinho – but England are not Barcelona or Real Madrid.  What England need right now, in the absence of an established lineup or tactical system, is someone with the pragmatism of Otto Rehhagel.

There are those who will attack Hodgson for his ill-fated time at Liverpool.  Allow me to put the rest of his career as a case for his defence, most particularly his time at Internazionale.  And, as Kenny Dalglish has found in recent months, Anfield has been and always will be one of the most difficult places to manage.  There are also those who will persist that Redknapp was the only choice.  Those voices may be far quieter following the second half of Tottenham’s season.  Of course, Redknapp is a very, very good manager, but the 5-2 defeat against Arsenal in the Premier League and the 5-1 defeat against Chelsea in the FA Cup may have been fatal causes for concern.  After all, Euro 2012 – just like World Cup 2010 before it – will be filled with teams of speedy, nerveless vultures ready to pick apart ailing defences on the counter-attack.  (Yes, Germany, I am looking at you.)

So it looks like it’ll be Hodgson then.  And he may smuggle us further than we thought we’d ever go, or make us dully subside at the group stage.  But either way, please let’s work on those expectations of ours; because, the last time that England won a major tournament, footballs were still brown.

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  • Razas

    The reviews of the books aren’t complementary either – they suggest a lack of knowledge on the subject, which is what the authro has demonstrated in this article.
    Maybe I should write a book or two if it’s that easy.

  • Raymond Terrific

    I think this article is spot on, looking at all the facts and the records of the managers Roy Hodgson was the best choice. It might not be popular with those who think that England are a major force in football (seemingly the majority of football fans given how over-hyped the team is before every tournament) but it’s a sensible step by the FA.

    England are not a strong international team. There are a few genuine quality players although many of them are massively overrated. The team itself doesn’t really have much cohesion or a definitive style of play.

    When looking at the England side there’s one area in particular that could be an issue and that’s defence. Ashley Cole has never been consistent at international level, Rio Ferdinand and John Terry now appear to be past their best while there hasn’t been a real first choice right back for a while.

    Players like Gary Cahill, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Micah Richards, Kyle Walker etc will have to step up soon and those young players would benefit from a good structure and plenty of focus on defence. That is something that Roy Hodgson received praise for during his time in charge of Finland. The defensive organisation was very good.
    Whether England fans like it or not having a strong defence is the first step that needs to be taken and getting the young players up to speed internationally is essential. England under Hodgson might not score many goals, but if the team can develop a watertight defence then it’s a sign of real progress.

  • synaesthesiachronicles

    The English FA have confused the English senior team manager’s job with the job of running a football academy. 

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