Roy Hodgson emerged as a surprise candidate for the vacant England manager’s role, and was announced earlier today as England manager with the countdown to Euro 2012 well under way. The FA have taken a considered and patient approach in finding the next Three Lions boss, but with Tottenham’s Harry Redknapp also thought to be keen on leading the nation, have the governing body made the right choice?
The expectancy of England to perform wonders in Ukraine and Poland is not as high as in the lead-up to previous international tournaments (regardless of what the Euro 2012 odds say), and Hodgson’s appointment will not inspire any additional confidence in the traveling supporters. With nations such as Spain, Germany and Netherlands expected to lead the way this summer, the West Brom boss will need to get the best out of his squad to stand a chance of making the final stages of the tournament.
Even before Capello walked away from the role with the home nation, Redknapp has been the frontrunner and favourite to lead the nation despite his lack of an international record. It seemed like a matter of when rather than if the Spurs boss would assume the role, with the media brewing up a storm in a teacup in backing the north London manager.
However, given careful consideration, maybe there is rational thought behind the selection of Hodgson. Despite a terrible and brief stint at Liverpool, he has transformed West Brom’s fortunes and taken a mediocre squad away from relegation against the odds and into the safe-haven of mid-table.
The Hawthorns supremo has been praised for his man-management skills and careful approach, whilst he also has experience of international football. Redknapp is perceived as more of a club manager, who enjoys the wheeling-dealing of the transfer market and daily interaction with players.
Hodgson will not be the first surprise, unlikely or second-choice man to fill the national void, after the likes of Steve McClaren and Terry Venables got the top job unexpectedly. The fortunes of the latter certainly outweighed that of the former, but for England to excel this summer Hodgson must dispel any rumblings over his worth and selection.
With the competition kicking off in just over five weeks and the selection of the squad in around a fortnight, Hodgson has work to do, and will not necessarily thank the FA for the short timescales to get organised and comfortable in the role. Fixtures against France, Sweden and Ukraine in Group D will test England’s ability and resolve, and the FA will hope that their choice of boss will be vindicated come the final on July 1st.