As predicted a few weeks ago, England have slumped out of the World Cup. I am not surprised in the least, and my pessimistic mood is set to continue now that Roy Hodgson has been given another two years as manager.
The blame can be placed on the players, on the heat, on the long season, or on whatever else you wish to turn to, but the fact of the matter is that the manager is ultimately responsible.
The argument that English players are not good enough is preposterous when you look at the quality of individuals in other nations squads.
The argument that the heat is affecting the players is another cop-out because the French, the Germans, and the Belgians seem to be coping.
And the argument that the players are tired after a long season is just as weak. Joe Hart, Gary Cahill, Wayne Rooney and Danny Wellbeck were the only players from Hodgson’s favoured starting 11 that played in Europe this season, and even they were not present in that for too long.
Why is it that in the Premier League when a team disappoints, the manager is immediately blamed, yet at international level we attempt to invent as many excuses as we possibly can, to try and shift the blame on to something else?
I do not doubt that Hodgson is very knowledgeable on the topic of football. But he in no way, shape or form represents the man that England need to help them achieve success.
If we look at Hodgson’s recent record as manager, his achievements at Fulham aside, it does little to stoke the flames of aspiration. A mid-table finish with West Brom and before that a terrible six months at Liverpool. Before Fulham there was a spell as manager of Finland, where he had a win ratio of just 27.3%. Before Finland he was at Viking, winning no trophies whilst there.
In fact, since 1990, Hodgson has won only two trophies in management. Both of these being in the 2000/01 season with Copenhagen.
That is two trophies in 24 years of management. In those same 24 years Harry Redknapp has won four, Kenny Dalglish has won five, and Martin O’Neill has won 14,
It is clear why the FA gave Hodgson the job, and it is clear why they continue to support him. He is a safe bet. Hodgson is not outspoken, he will not rock the boat, and he will always do as the FA wishes
Safety and caution are not words that a nation would want to associate with their football team’s manager, but that is exactly what can be used to describe Hodgson. Though he started with Rooney, Wellbeck and Sturridge in the opening game, it was much more an edgy 4-5-1 formation rather than an attacking 4-3-3.
ITV and BBC can attempt to put as much of a positive spin on things as they can, but the reality is that England were woeful. Worse than I even I expected, and I did not expect a lot.
I am not alone in voicing my concerns over Hodgson and his managerial ability. Samuel Luckhurst wrote an excellent article on the Huffington Post echoing my own thoughts.
The facts speak for themselves, and the fact is that England have just experienced their worst “campaign at a World Cup finals since 1958”. Somehow, this title is enough to give Hodgson another two years in the job.
Luckhurst quite rightly draws a comparison with the other European nation that failed to progress from the group, Italy. Despite reaching the Euro 2012 final and the Confederations Cup semi-finals Cesare Prandelli, the Italian manager, “resigned immediately after the Azzurri were eliminated” from this years World Cup.
Hodgson would be wise to follow suit.
As it is, Hodgson will not act in such a way. He will remain in charge for the next two years, Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard will retire from international football and England will inevitably qualify for the next international tournament.
The boredom and disappointment of this World Cup will be washed away in excitement and intrigue over the European Championships, and England will once again head in to a tournament with an inflated ego and a naïve optimism.
Only when England get knocked out, falling at the first hurdle, stumbling as soon as they face their first real challenge, only then will the FA decide that Hodgson has taken the team as far as he can. They will thank him for his wonderful work, and then open his job to new applicants.
This will be two years too late, and my disappointment at another dreadful England international tournament will only be improved by the fact I will be able to say, “I told you so”.
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This article was originally published on TitanBet on 28th June.