Hodgson/England/Euro 2012

The big news, which I’ve heretofore ignored as it made my head spin, is Roy Hodgson’s appointment as England manager. Never mind the Redknapp or speech impediment or press idiocy angles, what does this actually mean for England at Euro 2012?

I’m sure I’ve mentioned before how Roy’s early career directly influenced Sven-Göran Eriksson so all things being equal I’d expect something similar here. Sven essentially used Roy methods to become what he was, so let’s have a look at how he did at tournaments:

2002 – quite well, drawing with Sweden, beating the Argies, drawing with Nigeria, beating Denmark easily then losing unfortunately to Brazil.

At Euro 2004 England threw away a good situation against France, then beat Switzerland and Croatia. They lost on pens to Portugal.

At the 2006 World Cup England withdrew into themselves, beating Paraguay and Trinidad and Tobago, drawing with Sweden then beating Ecuador in the knockouts. Then Portugal happened again.

In short, we beat the sorts of teams we’d expect to beat, managed the occasional good result (Argentina and Denmark in 2002, Croatia in 2004), but the odd disappointment (we were awful in 2006 and messed up 2004 despite what might have been England’s best opportunity to really kick on).

Hodgson will know what he wants to do and will presumably be able to implement this reasonably effectively. I know we talk about him needing time to get his methods across but he’s been a successful international manager before and can be again. One issue might be the Liverpool factor, in which star players found his approach slightly beneath them, but at this point what are they going to do? It’s one thing sulking in club football; international football is different, especially at tournament level. Hodgson can be firm when he needs to be and I imagine he’ll more or less get what he wants.

And you can see how that might be enough. The group is not soft but not hard, and I imagine we might be able to negotiate France, Sweden and Ukraine (although we might not! The margins are so fine), and then we get to the interesting part.

As Fulham manager Hodgson steered the club past better teams to reach the Europa League final. Sure there was luck along the way, but the success was built on the shape and determination that he’ll surely be aiming for here. So if we do qualify in second and face Spain in the knockouts, well let’s face it, Spain wouldn’t be that happy to be facing a well drilled 4-4-2 would they? It’s exactly the sort of setup that seems to be able to undo Spain/Barca type approaches.  After that, anything’s possible.

So while I am frightened for Roy and will try to avoid newspapers during the tournament, I do think he can be successful. What do you reckon?

And if you are interested in betting on the tournament, England are around 10/1, which seems about right to me. I’ll see if I can find a spare fiver…

5 thoughts on “Hodgson/England/Euro 2012

  1. I think its likely a little too soon to the Euros for him to have any success. Yes he’s done the international game before and so is used to dealing with players who aren’t with him week-in-week-out. But he’s had more time with those players. It took him a good few months to get the players playing closer to what he wanted when he arrived at Fulham and I imagine that something similar would be required for the international team.

    Beyond that, I think this he clearly has what it takes to be a big success with England. I don’t buy the player’s lack of respect argument as being valid. If the media turns on him, maybe. But he’s worked miracles now with two English clubs and I suspect he’ll get the respect he needs.

    The key for him will be his willingness to clear out the old and start building with the new young talent coming through. That’s no so much in order to stamp his authority on the team, and more to give him enough time to build a team able to win either the next World Cup or the next Euros. So, given this and what I think are very limited chances for success at the present tournament, I’d like him to start now and field a young side likely to form the core of the side in two years time. I doubt this will happen though, because what we’ve experienced with Hodgson so far is a reluctance to field young players.

  2. Yes, it took him time at Fulham, but results at West Brom came much sooner. It helps that he starts at a tournament where he has a few weeks of preparation with the players, rather than the few days he would get before each game at any other time. His natural bias is towards more experienced players and those senior members of the current England squad have a choice: buy into the Roy method or get dropped, probably for the last time.

    It’s nice to think that he is in part “ours” again. I really hope it works out for him.

    1. I think that the situation at West Brom in spring 2011 is roughly parallel to where England is at now. Di Matteo did a good job at West Brom and was unfortunate to be let go, board politics; Capello did a decent job and was unfortunate to be let go, board politics. I think Roy will pick up good results early on. Question is if he can do well in the long run going into 2014.

      Big problem for England isn’t necessarily teammates respecting the manager, but the players coming together cohesively. For example, I don’t think Gerrard and Terry get along well at all. Does Roy have the power to make those players gel, and if not, can he push them out and bring in young players?

  3. I think Roy will be hoping that Gerard, Lampard and Terry are injured and cannot play. I think England will do much better without those guys. He would be better off without Cole as well – but at least he is probably worth a spot in the team on merit – the other guys are more trouble than their form warrants.

  4. Whatever happens it will be interesting. Liverpool fans will be hoping he fails miserably, so no doubt whatever he achieves (bar winning the whole competition) will not be good enough. A knock-out exit on penalties will probably keep the wolves from the door since the media can obsess about how the foreigners screwed us out of another destined trophy to worry too much about Roy.

    What is encouraging is that Hodgson wants to coach both the England players (who badly need it) and the youth set up. Finally there is an England manager who is happy to get his hands dirty with the whole England set up rather than doing the job solely for the profile and the money.

    I think you are spot on with your comparisons to Sven, although we might be more successful under Roy because Sven appears to have really gone off the boil as a manager, whilst Hodgson has been performing (apart from 6 months at Lpool). The change in style of playing should not be too drastic since Capello was never the most attacking of coaches but built a soild base (the win over Spain was a fine defensive display) for Roy to build on.

    I have no idea who he will take to the Euros, but if the big names go and fail, I think they can wave goodbye to their international careers, which will be nice.

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