Tough job but some­one has to do it

The Dominion Post - - Sport - MATT LAW FOOT­BALL

Eng­land’s play­ers were left con­fused by the de­ci­sion-mak­ing of Roy Hodg­son and bored by his prepa­ra­tion for games dur­ing the Euro 2016 cam­paign that plunged the coun­try’s foot­ball team to a new low.

Hodg­son and his as­sis­tants, Ray Lew­ing­ton and Gary Neville, stood down min­utes af­ter the worst de­feat in Eng­land’s his­tory against Ice­land, fol­low­ing a cat­a­logue of er­rors that baf­fled mem­bers of his squad.

Not even cap­tain Wayne Rooney, who had sup­port­ive words for Hodg­son in the af­ter­math of his de­par­ture, knew what the 68-year-old was go­ing to do next, as he chopped and changed his side with­out ex­pla­na­tion and kept play­ers in the dark over his plans.

It emerged that: Mem­bers of Hodg­son’s squad found his train­ing ses­sions bor­ing and repet­i­tive.

Rooney was left in the dark over the man­ager’s plan to drop him from the team to face Slo­vakia.

Play­ers were left per­plexed by Adam Lal­lana’s omis­sion from the Ice­land game.

Coaches cel­e­brated Ice­land’s goal against Aus­tria that set up Tues­day’s hu­mil­i­at­ing de­feat.

It amounts to a damn­ing indictment of the man­ager’s stew­ard­ship of Eng­land’s Euro 2016 cam­paign which ended in embarrassing fash­ion in Nice.

Hodg­son’s big­gest gam­ble of the tour­na­ment by far was to rest Rooney for the fi­nal group B game against Slo­vakia and yet the 30-year-old was given no in­di­ca­tion that he might not start the match ahead of the of­fi­cial an­nounce­ment to the play­ers.

Given his se­nior­ity within a young squad, Rooney may have ex­pected to be given a heads up as to what was to fol­low but was just as stunned as many of his team­mates when Hodg­son an­nounced his team to face Slo­vakia.

Rooney feels he pro­duces his best form when he is play­ing reg­u­larly and had com­mu­ni­cated that view to Hodg­son ahead of the tour­na­ment. It was no co­in­ci­dence that he pro­duced by far his worst per­for­mance in the Ice­land de­feat af­ter ef­fec­tively hav­ing been given a week off. Wanted: Some­one to turn around the for­tunes of foot­ball’s most con­sis­tently un­der­per­form­ing in­ter­na­tional team.

The search for a new Eng­land coach was un­der way yes­ter­day as Roy Hodg­son, Wayne Rooney and co ar­rived home af­ter their shock exit from Euro 2016 af­ter suf­fer­ing a 2-1 de­feat to Ice­land in the round of 16.

It was a de­press­ing scene for the English foot­ballers as they strode off their plane on a wet day at Manch­ester Air­port; their heads hang­ing low and with­out a man­ager af­ter Hodg­son re­signed in the im­me­di­ate af­ter­math of their loss.

Equally, Eng­land play­ers were puz­zled over the de­ci­sion to drop Lal­lana for the Ice­land match as the feel­ing within the squad was that the Liver­pool man had been one of their bet­ter play­ers in the group games.

Lal­lana and his Liver­pool team­mates Jor­dan Hen­der­son, James Mil­ner and Nathaniel Clyne know

There aren’t too many ob­vi­ous can­di­dates to re­place Hodg­son in the role of­ten la­belled ‘‘The Im­pos­si­ble Job’’.

Gareth South­gate, the coach of Eng­land’s un­der-21 team, is an early if un­der­whelm­ing favourite to suc­ceed Hodg­son. There’s talk of Sam Al­lardyce, Alan Pardew and Ed­die Howe – all cur­rent English Premier League man­agers and all from dif­fer­ent parts of the age spec­trum.

But the list of gen­uine con­tenders is short, con­sid­er­ing that be­ing the man­ager of Eng­land is usu­ally the high­est-paid coach­ing role in the in­ter­na­tional game. only too well that Daniel Stur­ridge does not like to play out wide, and yet the striker made both his starts on the right of a front three.

Sources at An­field have also felt for some time that Stur­ridge op­er­ates bet­ter as a sub­sti­tute, which was backed up by his goalscor­ing in­tro­duc­tion against Wales. That the­ory was over­looked

The English Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion hasn’t rule out the pos­si­bil­ity of a non-English re­place­ment for Hodg­son and has insisted that rootand-branch re­form wasn’t nec­es­sary.

‘‘We’ll be look­ing for the best per­son for the job,’’ said the FA’s CEO, Martin Glenn. ‘‘We need a new man­ager. We don’t need to throw the baby out with the bath­wa­ter. There are a lot of good things that have been done.’’

The FA will look to have its new man in place well in ad­vance of Eng­land’s next match, a World Cup qual­i­fier away to Slo­vakia on Septem­ber 4. by Hodg­son and his staff, as the 26-year-old started the next two matches and strug­gled to make an im­pact.

Rooney hinted that Hodg­son did not make the most of the re­sources avail­able to him, when he said: ‘‘It’s dif­fi­cult to see now, but we do have a good squad, an ex­cit­ing squad, and who­ever comes in will


Eng­land man­ager Roy Hodg­son had some­thing of a re­volv­ing door pol­icy when it came to tac­tics and se­lec­tions dur­ing Euro 2016.

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