Deadline set for Parker’s title fight
have a tough job, but they have the players to move us on from where we are and take us one step further.’’
At no point during the tournament did England’s players feel there was a defined plan, as Hodgson made change after change and gambled on lineups and formations he had never previously tested.
His roll of the dice against Wales, when Hodgson threw all his strikers on, worked out but it did not particularly kid anyone around the camp who knew he had simply got lucky.
As the Iceland game dragged on a number of England’s players flashed puzzled looks towards the bench as Hodgson attempted to dish out instructions. Rooney would not have been impressed watching Gary Cahill moved into a makeshift centre forward role after the country’s record goalscorer had been taken off.
Other than his team selections, Hodgson made a series of other strange decisions that have since raised serious questions about his management.
Hodgson and Lewington spent one of their days off in Paris and took a boat trip down the River Seine before returning to the team hotel to watch Iceland beat Austria on television. It is baffling, given the game that set up the last-16 clash with England was played only 30 minutes from his hotel, that Hodgson did not attend in person and instead watched Iceland on a big screen.
Neville, goalkeeping coach Dave Watson, performance analysis manager Andy Scoulding and two Football Association scouts were at the match and celebrated Iceland’s late goal that meant England did not have to face Portugal. That delight ended up being misplaced.
Much of England’s preparation for games at Euro 2016 focused around ‘shadow play’ with two sets of players lining up against each other in drills that soon became repetitive to those used to more imaginative sessions.
It was the idea of senior players to pass around a cuddly lion, which even had its own tournament accreditation, as a forfeit for mishaps at the training ground or team hotel.
Hodgson and the FA would never have envisaged that more than 20 toy lions would have been needed to cover those at fault in France.
Ultimately, however, this was Hodgson’s failure.
Nobody knew what he was doing, including it seems, the man himself. Joseph Parker’s potential title fight with Anthony Joshua continues to take shape with the IBF insisting the British heavyweight take on his mandatory challenger before January 9.
Joshua successfully defended his IBF crown for the first time on Sunday with an impressive seventh-round stoppage of American Dominic Breazeale, extending his record to 17 knockout victories from 17 fights.
Following the victory, Joshua said he had no problem stepping in the ring with Parker, who became the mandatory challenger last month when he recorded a unanimous decision over rugged Frenchman Carlos Takam.
Promoter Eddie Hearn also expressed his desire to pair the unbeaten fighters for Joshua’s next outing in November.
And the IBF is determined to see the bout go ahead.
‘‘We will notify Anthony Joshua that he must fight mandatory challenger Joseph Parker on November 9, 2016. The mandatory due date is January 9, 2017,’’ the organisation told Boxing News.
The November 9 date is when Joshua and Parker have to start negotiating their bout by, with January 9 the deadline for fight night.
Parker is currently preparing for his fight against former rugby league player Solomon Haumono in Christchurch next month.
IBF rules state a deal must be made within 30 days of the champion being notified of their mandatory obligation. In Joshua’s case, that means a date must be in place by December 9 or the fight will go to a purse bid, where the January deadline is unlikely to be met.
The other factor which could force a delay is if Joshua opts for a unification fight, which can take precedence over a mandatory obligation and potential blockbusters against WBC champion Deontay Wilder or WBO and WBA titleholder Tyson Fury have both been mentioned.
A showdown with fellow Brit Fury, in particular, would generate massive attention in the United Kingdom.
However, Fury’s short-term future has been clouded by an ankle injury that forced him to postpone his rematch against Wladimir Klitschko.
Roy Hodgson, left, dishes out instructions from the sideline, to the apparent confusion of his assistant Gary Neville, during the loss to Iceland.