Unless you’ve been on another planet for the past 24 hours or so, you’ll know that with the exception of the most important game that has ever happened ever in the history of the world (forgetting that football did exist before the Premiership was born 20 years ago, and that in 1989 there was a game at Anfield that actually did decide the title), the main news story in all the papers and taking up at least half of each hour’s bulletin on Sky Sports News is the interview taking place of West Bromwich Albion’s manager Roy Hodgson for the position of England manager. The fact that, as with most jobs, he is only at interview stage and therefore at this point not guaranteed the job, for all who care to comment, the role is effectively his. And that means “fan’s favourite” Harry Redknapp has missed out. As I tweeted last night, that must have had many a football writer choking on their late night cocoa.
Ever since the sensational resignation of Fabio Capello at the beginning of February, the press have been on the bandwagon to get ” ‘Arry” the job, believing only he can lead England away from the doldrums and to their rightful place at the top of world football. And they would have us believe that every England fan thinks the same.
But some of us are actually a bit more realistic. And while I think the appointment of Redknapp may have brought a short term lift and a better than average performance in Euro 2012, for me, Roy Hodgson is a far better choice for the long term development of the England game. For years, the press have lambasted one England manager after another, when quite frankly, the problem is far deeper than that. It is to do with basic techniques taught to youngsters (or lack of them), it is about a lack of skilled coaches, it is about the whole structure of the game in this country. And Hodgson would be a leader who would take a more than passing interest in developing the English game for the better.
Added to this, he is a better tactician (Redknapp himself has admitted to being weak in this department), has experience both of managing at international level and at tournaments, is one of the few coaches in recent memory to avoid the sack at Inter, and has worked in the technical department at UEFA. I believe he might actually go into the tournament with a plan of how to get the best out of the players at his disposal, how to beat the teams we face, and the team will be tactically sound and organised. Yes, we’ll probably get knocked out at the quarter final stage, but in terms of where we are in our football development, that’s probably about par.
And yes we might not get any entertaining press conferences, and Roy might come across a bit grumpy, and Lamps and Rooney and Terry might not enjoy it quite as much. But Roy Hodgson might just help in building a legacy that will benefit the country’s elite football team in years to come. And I’ll take that every time.