There are some who think Roy Hodgson looks like an owl. Forget about them. The 64-year-old has the vast experience of managing 18 teams in the last 36 years and the FA felt that the time was right to elevate him to the highest position in English football.
But is he the man who can change England’s fortunes when it comes to performing at the international level?
It is hard to tell before he has even started managing a team brimming with superstars from different clubs in the English Premier League. The England problem has been continuous—they always fail to perform in World Cups and European Championships. And with around 40 days to go before Euro 2012, Hodgson has a tough task ahead of him.
The English fans have all the right to complain about the lack of international clout their team displays compared to nations like Spain, Holland, Germany or France. After all, they have a league which is supposedly the best in the world… and they are not even considered as a threat in the knock-out stages.
Hodgson exuded confidence at the press conference after he was unveiled as the man who will take on one of the toughest jobs in football (the toughest job being Chelsea manager).
“Given my CV, I had the right to hope and harbour the wish that the FA, after going through the process, would choose me. Every coach has got to win over the players. It’s not the first time I’ve stepped into a group I don’t know but my CV suggests I’ve succeeded fairly well with that.”
That CV that he talks about so often includes stints with clubs like Inter Milan, Blackburn Rovers, Fulham, Liverpool, Udinese, West Bromwich Albion, Copenhagen and Malmo.
As for countries, he has coached Switzerland, Finland, United Arab Emirates and you can add England to that list now.
His major successes came in Scandinavia, where he won seven Swedish league titles, two Swedish Cups, one Danish League and one Danish Cup. As for his achievements closer to home, the biggest one remains Fulham’s remarkable run to the Europa League final which they lost against Atletico Madrid.
He oversaw possibly the greatest night in Fulham’s history when they beat Juventus 4-1 at Craven Cottage in the Europa League round of 16.
In spite of his experience all over Europe, his was not a name which was high on the list of probables to be chosen as England manager. The players he will now need to deal with are at completely another level. One of his main tasks, as he admits, will be to sort out the positions of Rio Ferdinand and of course, John Terry.
“I’ll have to get in touch with these two men to try and speak to them personally, hopefully face to face, to find out where they are in this situation. I actually want to speak to as many senior players as I possibly can. Until such time as I have spoken to John and Rio, it would be wrong of me to start commenting.”
The issue of picking Terry or not, especially after he was stripped of his captaincy by the FA regarding the impending case of allegations that he racially abused Anton Ferdinand will be his hardest task.
After that, he has to make choice between England’s big names like Wayne Rooney (who is suspended for the first two group games of Euro 2012), Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Ashley Cole and Glen Johnson their new breed of talent. These include the likes of Danny Welbeck, Kyle Walker, Phil Jones and Andy Carroll.
Finally the decision which, for some reason, makes waves in the Queen’s country—of naming England’s long term captain.
Roy Hodgson’s appointment may have come and gone at the speed of a whirlwind, but his decisions and their repercussions will be slowly and painstakingly analysed.