Why Woy England manager-in-waiting Hodgson has plenty to offer
22:17 GMT, 30 April 2012
Why Woy It is the question sweeping the nation but the answers differ from West Bromwich to Liverpool and from Fulham to Blackburn.
At the Hawthorns and Craven Cottage, they will testify to Roy Hodgson’s ability to organise and maximise the talent at his disposal and deliver a balanced and efficient team with his vast coaching experience.
These skills are highly relevant in international football, regardless of what they might be saying around Anfield and Ewood Park, where his spells in charge of wealthier clubs with loftier ambitions did not go well.
All smiles: Roy Hodgson leaves Wembley after his meeting with the FA
Through critical eyes, England could be accused of accepting their fate as a mid-ranking European nation with limited natural resources, seeking a manager to make the whole more than the sum of its parts.
But there are layers to Hodgson not always appreciated in the land of his birth because, out of 35 years in coaching, he has only spent around a quarter of that time working in England.
The 64-year-old has been successful at club level in Scandinavia and managed three different countries, Switzerland, Finland and the United Arab Emirates and, beneath the genial and well-mannered surface, is a coach with total faith in his methods.
If he takes the England job, it will be his 20th in football, and he has coached in Italy, taking charge of Inter Milan and Udinese. He remains a close confidante of Inter’s owner Massimo Moratti and knows his way around the corridors of power at UEFA.
On this basis, there is logic to the appointment and an acknowledgement from the FA that, these days, the international job is a very different animal to its club equivalent.
Chosen one: Hodgson (left) is the FA's preferred option over Harry Redknapp
There is no transfer market and, although an eye for players is a valuable asset, there really is nothing to be gained by approaching someone with an unrivalled global scouting network or a knack of unearthing hidden gems in central America for a bargain price.
Even Fabio Capello, with arguably the finest cv in European football, could not convert England into a successful team, so why chase another man with a glittering cabinet of club medals
Why demand Champions League experience when England don’t play in the Champions League Why not appoint someone who has witnessed the peculiarities of tournament football, appreciates the vagueries of the ruling bodies and understands the value of international release.
'I don’t think any job is impossible,' said Hodgson, on the subject last month. 'England have won a major tournament – only one, but they’ve still won one – and we’re working in a league where football of a very high quality is played and we’re producing players who most people would regard as top European standard. So, impossible, no.'
Harry Redknapp’s charisma and charm has made him the preferred choice of the players and many in the media. In the age of megastar players, it is important. The manager has to be a master of motivation and manipulating egos.
Not everyone's cup of tea: Liverpool fans did not rate Hodgson
Redknapp scores highly in this area but, equally, Hodgson’s discretion and diplomacy will appeal to the FA. He is 'safer' and, most probably, cheaper than the Tottenham manager and out of contract this summer, so he does not have to be unlocked from a 4million-a-year contract.
Daniel Levy’s reputation for long and tedious negotiation must be one more thing tipping the balance in Hodgson’s favour.
The appointment bears inspection, especially if it is taken as the vanguard of a broader plan to nurture more English coaches at the new National Football Centre in Burton and a new generation of footballers, released by their clubs upon request for international youth football and developed for international success as well as club success.
It is good enough for France, Germany and Spain – countries who have proved far more successful than England at all levels – but it cannot work if the plan is abandoned at the first glimpse of crisis, as a similar one was when Steve McClaren failed to qualify for Euro 2008.
If the World Cup qualifying campaign stutters and Hodgson is swiftly jettisoned and replaced with Jose Mourinho, England might as well resign itself to a boom-and-bust football future, lurching drunkenly between two distinct philosophies as the team sinks to its knees as rivals progress.