Belfast Telegraph

Alan Green: Why Roy Hodgson for England? He’s cheap and looks smart in a blazer

I knew something might be up, sitting alongside former England manager Graham Taylor at White Hart Lane on Sunday. Prior to kick-off, he was being asked about mounting speculation that Roy Hodgson could be offered the succession to Fabio Capello.

Normally, talking about England, Graham and I might exchange the odd wink or shake of the head: this time he sat poker-faced when saying that Hodgson had an advantage living in the Midlands, close to the Football Association’s St. George’s Park in Burton-on-Trent which, it’s hoped, will provide a steady feed of new coaches and promising young players.

“I can’t see Harry,” Graham speculated, “leaving his home at Sandbanks.” Methinks, Graham might have ‘heard whispers’.

So now I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Alright, I’ll try my best to be positive. Hodgson is cheap, less than £2 million a year and no compensation to pay. But, then again, the FA never thinks about value for money, does it? How much did they pay the Italian?

It certainly means the nightmare scenario of Stuart Pearce being appointed has been avoided. I moaned in despair when Pearce talked last week of announcing “his squad” on May 10. Stuart get back to the meaningless football at the Olympics.

And, as far as I know, Northampton Town aren’t in England’s European Championship group, the same Northampton described by Hodgson as “formidable opponents” when they played and beat ‘his’ Liverpool in the Carling Cup last season.

I’m not making that up!

There must be other good reasons to give the job to Hodgson? I suppose he looks quite smart in a blazer. And he’s managed, internationally, the might of Switzerland, Finland and the United Arab Emirates. Andererthat’s it.

I think back to what Club England’s Adrian Bevington — one of the ‘power-brokers’ and, formerly, someone who ‘arranged press conferences’ — said when Capello left. He talked of the new man having the respect of the players. I wonder what Steven Gerrard thinks and all those England players who immediately ‘tweeted’ their support for Harry Redknapp.

Bevington mentioned the importance of a good track record and someone who will excite and inspire the fans. What was that again? Excite and inspire the fans? Don’t even go there if you talk to Liverpool supporters about Hodgson: they’ll laugh so much it could endanger their health.

I can’t help but feel that Bevington was talking then about Redknapp. The Spurs’ boss was certainly the ‘people’s choice’, that of the media too and I didn’t know of a single England player who was ‘against’ him. Thinking back though, perhaps Darren Bent might have had doubts. Redknapp once compared the then Tottenham player’s ability unfavorably in relation to his wife’s!

I suppose, at least, the FA has stopped its dithering. In the meantime, they have partially derailed Tottenham’s Champions League hopes. And goodness knows what this has all done to Redknapp’s state of mind when some Tottenham supporters are questioning his continued presence at White Hart Lane!

Hodgson is a decent man. All he probably wants is a fair chance. Heaven help him though when England have their first bad result!

Belfast Telegraph

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