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FA's mishandling compounds Hodgson's career-long lack of English recognition

Roy Hodgson's appointment as England manager has been underwhelming to say the least and like everyone else, I feel I ought to throw my own often reactionary view into the mix.

Firstly, my succinct impression of Hodgon's management style: tactically sound, a little defensive, fairly good motivator, authoritative, honest. Secondly, my response to his situation: sympathy at having to justify himself before the media and nation following the ubiquitous preference for Harry Redknapp. Thirdly, I will address that issue.

Given the squad, the fans and the media, Premier League managers and ex-England internationals alike all backed Redknapp, I find it remarkably brazen of the few FA members who made the decision to decree that they alone understand what the job requires. Talk about creating a rod for Roy's back.

Hodgson is a great manager and he does not need our support to succeed. That said, it really would be better for everyone concerned that we gave him it, and I am sure come the summer there will be absolutely no problem there. I just think it is worth bearing in mind the FA's role in creating a problem to overcome - as if the England manager's job wasn't full of them already.

The FA's decision may well be vindicated but for now, it halts the back page momentum Redknapp's seemingly imminent appointment had developed, which is incredibly negligent given the proximity of the European Championships. Now I'm not suggesting we would win the thing with Harry at the helm, but if I hear the word 'stabilise' one more time...


Like everyone else keeps having to make clear, it is not my intention to cast aspersions on Hodgson who is a manager I thoroughly respect mainly for his honesty both in post-match interview format, and his frequently hilarious touchline reactions like the time he stood banging his head on the dug-out after conceding a goal.

The prospect of a fired-up Hodgson really tearing into the side is one that I relish. He represents the perfect sort of authority in my book: relatable but removed, stern yet not severe. What is more, his CV represents the sort that I, in my starry-eyed daydreams, imagine I would have given half the chance. Or perhaps a less whimsical, more technical way to put it is he is the kind of manager that I always end up as on Football Manager.

His career represents an all-too seldom travelled managerial route and gives him a genuine edge over Redknapp. But his appointment highlights the ever-increasingly apparent disconnect between the FA and all other parties in English football.

Surely fundamental unity from top to bottom is central to the success of any international setup - just look at Spain and Germany for recent examples. The longer the FA continues to refute the opinion of everybody else, the more divisive our national game.

It has been said that Hodgson 'fits the bill' for the England job which is fair comment in some senses but again worrying in others. If Roy is there on managerial merit, then no problem, like I said, his experience is unmatched.

However, if the decision is more in mind of the future, finding a manager and training Stuart Pearce up to take over, that appears to effectively rule out Redknapp from ever having the post, 70 plus as he would be at the next likely opportunity. That would be a terrible shame given he is without doubt the most attacking English manager for years, not to mention somebody who we’d all like to see given a chance.

Stand his ground

As for Hodgson, I think he'll do well. The delightfully short shrift he gave to the prat of a journalist who felt there was some sort of angle in the manager's former Apartheid South Africa playing days shows he is not only capable but willing to stand his ground and give as good as he gets. On that front, good for him.

Such is the ferocity of feeling in this country, the England manager's job has amounted to a fast-track transition to hate figure status in recent years, and so naturally a change of boss requires delicacy. If Hodgson were to fail, the inquest should start with the FA for the mishandling of his appointment compounds a career-long lack of recognition for one of England's most successful managers.

That hefty chip may well sit heavily on the shoulder of various other potential candidates - many predecessors have crumbled for far less. But Hodgson is made of sterner stuff and in all sorts of ways, represents an excellent choice for England manager.

Come the summer, articles such as this one will be forgotten in the inevitable optimism and hysteria of Euro 2012 preparations, and we all know that a successful tournament for England wouldn't even feature in a lousy 'Stranger things have happened in football' Channel Four top 100 programme.

By Chris Smith
Follow me on Twitter @cdsmith789 or click here to visit my blog, The Russian Linesman

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