Thursday, March 29, 2012

Hodgson the logical choice

For many the choice of who will be the next England manager is an easy one. Harry Redknapp, darling of the media and fans' favourite, is hot favourite due to his current success with Tottenham Hotspur and his persona that is everything Fabio Capello was not as England boss.

The consensus is that Redknapp's main talent of getting the best out of players is exactly what the under-achieving Three Lions need. The lack of silverware on his CV is not held against him due the glass ceiling that has prevented home-grown managers from getting the very top jobs and fans of Victor Chandler should bear this in mind.

The FA are aware of this huge popular support for Redknapp, but in drawing up a short list they can see the attractiveness of other options. The man who should top a wish-list was born in England in 1947 and was voted League Managers Association Manager of the year in 2010 by a record margin. He is Roy Hodgson and he has everything the FA can want in their next appointment, including the Englishness that favours Redknapp.

Succeeding in international management needs different skills to those needed to prosper at club level. Many make the transition from domestic leagues to the national set-up productively, but in analysing past success it is best to look for a CV that includes national team triumphs.

It is therefore dangerous to ignore the claims of a man who led Switzerland to two consecutive major tournaments, including a first World Cup since 1966. The Swiss rose to third in the world rankings under Hodgson and whilst he could not quite manage to get Finland to their first major tournament at Euro 2008, his was still a productive tenure in Scandinavia, a region that he has done so well in at club level. People looking at should take the time to check out his CV.

Hodgson's detractors question his ability to handle star players and to his failure at Blackburn Rovers and Liverpool. A 36-year career is bound to include some disappointments and those who choose to highlight his work at Ewood Park and Anfield conveniently forget his success at Inter Milan, Fulham and West Bromwich Albion.

It might be an easy choice for many, but the FA should take the risk and make the difficult choice by appointing a man who is seen as second choice. They have ignored Hodgson in the past and might regret doing so this time.

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