Just minutes after England’s latest major tournament exit, this time at the hands of Iceland, Roy Hodgson stepped down as manager to soften the blow of becoming the laughing stock of international football.
Hodgson’s tenure as Three Lions boss was just as underwhelming as the men that failed before him – win relatively easy friendlies and qualifiers, only to freeze on the big stage. Typical England.
His resignation means the FA is now tasked with finding a manager who can end the country’s 50 years of hurt. Again.
But who should it be?
Our best writers have had their say on who England’s next manager should be…
Is Rafa Benitez anything more than Spanish football’s Roy Hodgson? Maybe not, but the Spanish do everything better than us when it comes to the beautiful game – our answer to Andres Iniesta is Jack Wilshere – so Rafa’s an upgrade on Woy almost by default.
Likewise, Benitez combines a fantastic record in knockout football with an inherent knowledge of the English game like few other managers in the business, two traits epitomised by his 2005 Champions League heroics at Liverpool, and is well versed in the role of pantomime villain – so the endless barrage of manure habitually slung at England managers after every underwhelming performance will be like water (well, poo) off a duck’s back.
The only stumbling block is the Spaniard recently committing himself to Newcastle United. But why ruin your managerial career failing to gain promotion from the Championship when you could ruin it whilst visiting such exotic destinations as Malta, Slovenia and err… Scotland during England’s World Cup qualifying campaign.
If the vote leave brigade are going twist my arm for an Englishman, Bournemouth miracle worker Eddie Howe. He’s got energy, a charismatic grin and likes attacking football.
It matters who England’s new manager is, but it doesn’t matter much.
Just take a look at the mildew culture that has thrived around the fertile ground that is the England national team. A culture where 430 journalists can follow the football team around France, and hundreds more comment from their homes and offices, and where hatchet jobs on the manager are par for the course; a culture where it’s considered ‘banter’ to use a crowdfunding website to heckle a 21 year old for having a few bad games.
One look at the calibre of names mentioned as the favourite for the England job shows you that no manager worth his salt would want to take that job. Football in England is no longer a source of fun, it’s a cash cow, and with revenue comes pressure. How could anyone enjoy playing for England, and how could anyone enjoy managing them?
It’s irrelevant who England pick to replace Hodgson if the culture stays the same – England will continue to lose, and they’ll lose simply because this is England. English football has been dead for years: we’ve only just noticed the smell.
I went to a Roy Hodgson lecture once. Intelligent, clever, inspirational. Tomorrow some hack will mock his speech impediment on a back page.
— ffwtbol (@ffwtbol) June 27, 2016
Picking the next England manager is basically selecting someone to become a figure of national hatred.
It’s an ugly task, really quite unpleasant, in fact. For my money, I would’ve liked Brendan Rodgers to still be available and given a chance. He wouldn’t have fixed the leaky defence, but his style of play and tactical adventurousness would’ve at least provided excitement.
Rodgers, now at Celtic, has to be ruled out so I’d say that Eddie Howe is a good bet. Howe is young, bold and confident, but it might just be a little soon for him. Unfortunately, I feel that Howe has to be the man because of the dearth of reasonable alternatives. Sam Allardyce? No thanks. Alan Shearer? No, a million times no.
The England job is not as undesirable as many think at the moment, Hodgson has done well to take this squad to where it is and there really is a lot of talent there. However, the fundamental problems with English football make any manager in a position of fighting a losing cause.
By no means does the successor have to be English, but Howe seems the best by default right now.
This is a really tough one. England are at a major crossroads in terms of where they are going on the pitch, while something to get the fans back on board after a pretty drab two and a bit years is also needed.
Names such as Glenn Hoddle and Alan Pardew have been mooted, but neither, for me, is quite right looking forward. It’s a somewhat controversial choice, but I’d like to see Gary Neville given the chance.
Critics will point to his Valencia debacle, but it’s worth remembering he was parachuted in to steady an ailing side and couldn’t speak fluent Spanish. Okay, his decision to even take the role was questionable, but he should not be written off yet.
He clearly has the tactical acumen, comes with a big reputation from his playing days and I think the majority of supporters will be on board with him at the helm. International football is now an afterthought to the club game for most top managers, so England have to be realistic in terms of candidates.
— FootballFanCast.com (@FootballFanCast) June 28, 2016