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Roy Hodgson handed England’s poisoned chalice

by Aidan Elder | May 1, 2012

Roy Hodgson England Manager

The deal has been sealed. The deal was reportedly sealed last night, but the FA allegedly delayed the announcement because our tiny brains couldn’t cope with the stimulus of the Manchester Derby and processing the news that Hodgson was getting the England job.

Roy (64) spent Monday at FA headquarters at Wembley hammering out his contract and discussing how England are to prepare for their inevitable disappointment at Euro 2012.

It’s also been revealed that until the West Brom players can officially check out for their summer holidays, Hodgson will double job. He’ll combine England’s preparation for Euro 2012 with the task of pretending to be interested in the Baggies’ last two games of the season.

In the time since news broke of the FA’s chatting up of Hodgson, we’ve had a multitude of views expressed. Monday seemed to be a day for the disbelieving detractors. Stan Collymore, Mark Lawrenson and Matt LeTissier were amongst those querying the potential appointment, suggesting the FA were more interested in balancing the books than making it into the history books. Others pointed to his spell at Liverpool as evidence he wasn’t suitable for the job, ignoring the trophies and considerable international success he has achieved in the course of his globe-trotting career.

But once the moronic knee-jerking was over, there was a more circumspect analysis of his CV and talents. Crazy theories began to emerge like ‘maybe guiding Switzerland to third in the world isn’t something just anyone can do’. When the groans from Harry Redknapp’s cheerleaders in the media died down, there was a chance for the Hodgson fans to be heard.

Stefan Schwarz worked under Hodgson at Malmo and gave him a glowing reference. “He is probably the best manager I worked with. He always made you believe in yourself,” he said, sounding a little bit like an inspirational Bette Milder song. “He had the knack of knowing when to give a player a kick up the backside and when to build them up,” he added, sounding less like an inspirational Bette Midler song.

A lot of attention has centred on Hodgson’s ability to handle the ever irritating egos of the England dressing room. The whispers suggested he didn’t command a lack of respect from Liverpool’s world class players while he was at Anfield, but in fairness, at that time, they amounted to pretty much just Steven Gerrard. Ramon Vega was part of the Switzerland squad that he shot up the rankings in the early 90s. He’s thinks Roy is the right man to keep the self-importance in check. “I’m not worried about his ability to manage the egos. Roy will build a team. He will put the players in who are best suited to the team, he won’t just pick the squad on reputation.”

It wasn’t all rosy from Hodgson’s former Swiss players, with Stephane Henchoz peeing on the praise-parade. “He wasn’t a big success at either Inter Milan or Liverpool. When you train with Roy every day, it can be a bit boring as you repeat the same motions,” he doomed and gloomed, but threw Roy a bone by tagging on “For me he’s a good choice. He did a tremendous job with Switzerland.”

The appointment was good news for Ben Foster, whose chances of having something to do this summer have seemingly improved dramatically. At the start of March he was 11/4 to make the England squad, now he’s as short as 1/2 to earn a spot on the plane, even though he’s still technically retired from international football.

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