An emotional period following the Paris terrorist attacks culminated when football came together at Wembley stadium to stand tall and united against evil.
The result wasn’t important and no real analysis should be made from England’s friendly against France. But the time to judge the team for all that has happened since the World Cup has arrived. The findings do not look good for Roy Hodgson.
The FA got behind the manager when the dust had settled after a poor World Cup campaign. The reasoning behind their support was England lack the depth of talent they’d previously enjoyed and this was a transitional period. That removing Hodgson would seen as a wasted appointment, he needed time to develop the pool of players at his disposal.
This theory certainly had some credibility. Looking over his managerial career, his greatest achievements have been getting the best out of average Joes. It’s the big jobs where credit has eluded him. So Hodgson and England should have been the perfect fit. It’s a team that, in international terms, is more Championship than Premier League.
The problem is, Hodgson is all too aware of this predicament. Rather than be brave it has made him overly cautious. For a man that isn’t renowned for producing an exciting brand of football, this spells disaster. It’s killed any style of play England once had and any hopes they could win anything any time soon.
The fans, whose hopes have evaporated as fast as their interest in the England side, never really wanted Roy in the first place. The choice of the masses was Harry Redknapp. The same man that has stated this current England side should be winning the European Championships next year.
To many this sounds like optimism bordering on madness. However, he could be game-playing a little. The England job is one he’d undoubtedly still want and it creates a bit of friendly pressure. It also makes the FA wonder if a fresh face could energise a flat England squad.
Redknapp has sent a signal saying that it doesn’t have to be this way. Many times in the past England and have fallen on their sword or left a tournament proudly on a shield after penalties. The criticisms often centred around naivety against the more technical sides.
The game against Spain showed that under Hodgson the national side isn’t growing a tactical brain, it’s just learning how to cower in a corner and hope the match isn’t too painful.
Against the good teams Roy Hodgson will always set up not to lose, never will he try and go for the win.
The perfect qualification record proved nothing. It was a neat effort but no feat or mark of excellence. If England are Championship level, the group ranged from League One to the Evo-Stik Northern Premier. The true test was always going to be when he faced a stronger team. Against Spain he revealed his hand and it was weak.
In this situation removing Roy will not cause a period of turmoil. Those that probably spend the hours in his dressing room daydreaming will be jolted back into life. A new manager will come with ambition and the desire to make a point.
Hodgson has demonstrated, time and time again, that he can’t get this England team to play technical defensive football akin to the style of the old Italian side, and when facing tougher opposition he won’t go looking for goals. What’s the point of heading to a major competition when you can’t defend and won’t attack?
At least a new manager will attempt the latter and in knock-out tournament football that always gives you a chance. At the moment England don’t even have a hope.