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Monday, 28 May 2012

England Expects... Or Do They?

I doubt many managers have a CV like new England manager Roy Hodgson's.  The Croydon-born national gaffer has managed all around the world, for high calibre sides such as Inter Milan and Liverpool but with his chance with England sees Roy return to the national stage for the first time in five years.

Hodgson has plenty of experience. He isn't like a Fabio Capello or a Steve McLaren in making their first national appearance as England manager; Roy managing the likes of Finland, UAE and an impressive stint in charge of Switzerland shows he knows what to do at this level.

With the Swiss, he managed to finish an extremely impressive 3rd in the Fifa World Rankings in 1993 and, after leaving the post in 1996 was it any surprise that they failed to qualify for a major tournament for the next eight years?!

The Swiss were on a roll under Roy
It shows what he can do when not under any real pressure.  At Fulham, Hodgson took them from a mid-table Premier league side to the Europa League runners up; suffering defeat a 2-1 defeat, after extra time to an Atheltico Madrid side including stars such as Simao, Jose Antonio Reyes, Sergio Aguero and eventual two goal hero Diego Forlan.

Fulham lost in the Final
Of course, the forgettable stint at Liverpool slightly overshadows his roller-coaster of a career but his time at West Bromwich Albion increased his reputation further by turning a side that is renowned as a "yo-yo club" (Relegated to the Championship and then promoted again) into an established top flight team, leading the Baggies to a top half finish of 10th, playing some attractive football and being hard to beat - Something England haven't had.

Finally here he is, having the honour to manage his country.  It's taken Roy a long time to reach the pinnacle.

For once, England as a nation aren't expectant.  Instead of picking the same old players, Roy has brought in the odd unknown in the shape of Arsenal's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain; one of the brightest young hopes for the future, in a bid to surprise the opposition.

Without the pressure or expectancy, Hodgson has shown that he has the talents to do well, with England there is always these two components although this time, less of the latter.

He can't do it all on his own, obviously the big names like Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, John Terry and a late coming from Wayne Rooney would help but an England without expectancy maybe, just maybe could help Roy and his boys.

THE FANTASTIC FOUR: England need them on their game
As an Englishman I'm pleased with the selection; experience at an international level, knows the game inside out and is English.  Admittedly I was never on the "He has to be English" bandwagon and personally I wanted Guus Hiddink, another who has tremendous experience worldwide but, I have a feeling that Roy will do well; he seems respected and knowledgeable as well as media friendly which is always a plus as England manager.

Also, I suppose that if it is a boring 0-0 game, at least he's entertaining on the touchline...


C'mon England!

Until next week...

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