Roy – don’t leave, don’t walk away. Don’t leave the FA with a decision that is frankly impossible.
I’m not saying that it would be impossible to replace the current England manager, but I am saying that the alternatives frighten me to death. There are no viable options.
England boss Roy Hodgson will not be given a new deal until after Euro 2016 to avoid the “unsavoury position” that emerged under Italian Fabio Capello, which rather leaves things up in the air.
Under Hodgson, England won all of their 10 games in their qualifying group for the tournament in France this summer. At the 2014 World Cup, however, the Three Lions went out in the group stage without winning a game.
The weekend’s win over Germany in Berlin saw a different look to the team, as they pressed and played more fluidly. They more than matched the reigning world champions and should never have conceded the two German goals. That victory was followed by a narrow loss at home to the Netherlands, but one feels the last few days have strengthened Hodgson’s claim for a new contract.
At this moment in time other alternatives have been mentioned and none of them fill me with any confidence. Better the devil you know sometimes, as long as improvements are being made.
The first alternative being mentioned is ex-Liverpool boss, Brendan Rodgers. The Northern Irishman is apparently joint-favourite for the job, but football fans are undecided as to whether his Liverpool side’s 2013/14 Premier League title challenge was down to his brilliance or Luis Suarez. However, the fact remains that with the right players, Rodgers could easily manage at international level and it would probably excite him enough to say yes. As the England set-up has a number of young players coming through, his record with youth is solid. At Liverpool the homegrown talent was evident in the fact seven of the 23 England players in the last World Cup squad were either Liverpool players at the time or bought in that summer.
At just 38, Eddie Howe is the youngest manager in the Premier League and although his achievements in such a short managerial career has been outstanding, his lack of time in management and at the highest level counts against him. It would be a risky appointmentment, but the job that he has done at Bournemouth does mean this his name is being mentioned.
Arsene Wenger has also been a name thrown into the mix, and some Arsenal fans will be glad to see him leave the Emirates. Wenger is all about the philosophy of the game and seems uninterested in the financial areas, and at international level this would be a seemingly great fit. In truth, the likelihood is different. Should Wenger decide to leave the managerial role at Arsenal, he would probably go ‘upstairs’ as Director of Football. Failing that, perhaps, he would emerge as a future France manager, but either way, Wenger as England manager isn’t likely.
The bookies’ favourite appears to be the recently management-scarred Gary Neville. Many see Neville as the natural successor to Hodgson, however, Neville’s first taste of management has been a train wreck with his Valencia side looking over their shoulder at relegation from La Liga. His credibility, image and furthermore his reputation are in tatters, as he tries to shore up the foundations at the rapidly crumbling Spanish side. Neville has the experience of playing at the highest levels and could be better as a No.2 rather than as a boss, but if he were to take over, it would appear that most football fans would accept the decision quietly without too much vitriol.
Other names are less sensible to discuss in any depth, as they are just ludicrous. Can you imagine Sam Allardyce or Mauricio Pochettino as England manager? Even less likely are Jose Mourinho or Pep Guardiola, but both are being mentioned.
This time last year, you could have included the likes of Alan Pardew and Garry Monk, but see what a difference a year makes.
All in all, if Roy can get England to make a decent fist of the EUROs, my money is on him to stay until at least the 2018 World Cup.
Sometimes the grass isn’t always greener.