The England national football team has a new manager: West Bromwich Albion boss Roy Hodgson will lead out England for the first time against Belgium on June 2nd at Wembley, before taking his new charges to UEFA Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine.
Hodgson is the permanent replacement for Fabio Capello, who resigned in February, meaning that caretaker manager Stuart Pearce will now re-focus his attentions on the England Under-21s and on the Team GB Olympic Games football team. Hodgson has signed a four-year contract, which is a sizeable show of faith on the part of the Football Association; one hopes they’re not getting themselves into another pay-off situation given the huge scope for disaster between now and 2016.
Hodgson’s initial thoughts have already been posted on FATV:
He’s obviously excited and honoured to be taking over this job, but there’s not much to add to my original reaction because this is merely the rubber-stamping of news we’ve known was coming for a couple of days.
What I will expand upon is the importance of welcoming Hodgson into the job and giving him a fair crack of the whip. The fact that he is not Harry Redknapp has obviously irritated the Tottenham Hotspur manager’s pals in the tabloid, but there are – despite the repeated media insistence that Redknappomania was universal – a significant number of England supporters who will be delighted that someone other than Redknapp has been appointed, myself included.
So while the tabloids sharpen their knives, wouldn’t we all just be better off opening our ours to Hodgson and welcoming a new era with the same enthusiasm being demonstrated by the man himself? There’s nothing to be gained by pre-judging Hodgson’s performance here, and while I’d rather the Football Association demonstrated more guile in its selection process and more foresight in its overall vision, a change is as good as a rest. There’s a tournament on the horizon and that’s what this whole football thing is about.
(Photo credit: nicksarebi via Flickr)