Roy Hodgson - Deserving a chance?

Roy Hodgson Photo: PA

I used to believe England would win every major football tournament they entered. Mind, you I also used to believe in Father Christmas. Years of disappointment, where reality replaced childish dreams left me somewhat more cynical. Will the appointment of Roy Hodgson to the role of England Head Coach reignite my belief? Well, the cynic in me says probably not. But this is no slight on Roy. After all we have had just about every style of England manager going in recent times, the passion of Keegan, the level head of Eriksson, the underdog McClaren, the experience of Cappello and between them - a grand total of zero trophies. Worse still, apart from perhaps Sven, none of the aforementioned managed to shape a team that anywhere near matched the sum of its parts.

So what about Roy? Well, to start with he'll have some winning over to do, it seems everyone apart from Tottenham fans wants the job to go to Harry Redknapp. And why not, he's a great motivator, with an honest and witty turn of phrase, plus of course a very decent record in domestic English football. It's true that Roy doesn't have the same cheeky charm, he's not one for a one liner, more for a considered response. But that's not to say he's not media savvy, far from it and always a gentlemen in my dealings.

Roy Hodgson Credit: PA

Anyway, this is a man who should be judged on his CV - yes? The highlights? Well, having led various Swedish clubs I've never heard of to surprise title victories he then guided Switzerland to the last 16 of the 1994 World Cup - you know the one England didn't even qualify for. Jump forward a decade or so (via a respectable spell in charge of Internazionale) and he saved Fulham from Premier League relegation and then led them into Europe where they reached the final of the UEFA Cup.

We all know things didn't work out at Liverpool, but let's face it his successor isn't having much more joy. And now West Brom, on it's day The Hawthornes can have one of the best atmospheres of any football club, and under Roy they have had plenty of very good days. No relegation battle for them this season, as he said himself a couple of weeks ago 'we can relax a bit now'.

Roy Hodgson could be the next England manager Credit: PA

What does Roy bring to England? Well, experience, excellent man management and a passion for the basics, coaching, nurturing. And that last skill will become increasingly important once St George's Park is up and running. The FA wants it's new base in Burton to encourage a new generation of talent through the ranks, and Hodgson (or whoever is in charge of the England team) will be called upon to play a big part in making sure that works.

So, as far as I'm concerned Roy deserves a chance and with it the backing of the fans. Will England be worse than they were under the hugely expensive Fabio Capello? I doubt it. Will a new generation of players benefit from his experience and dedication? Of course they will. And will England win a major tournament? Well, I can't answer that. But you know what - my children believe in Father Christmas, and soon they'll probably start believing England can win anything and everything. Maybe it's time I just enjoyed life through their eyes, it's a whole lot less cynical.

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