Should England extend Roy Hodgson’s tenure as Three Lions boss?
Reports suggest England coach Roy Hodgson is keen to keep his post as Three Lions boss past next summer, when the 67-year-old’s contract expires.
Hodgson is said to have his eye on the road to Russia 2018 and taking his current charges to what would be the second World Cup during his reign.
With a decision on the former Liverpool tactician’s future pending, Coral writers consider whether the FA would be wise to keep faith.
England, who have Euro 2016 to think about before casting their minds to the next World Cup, are a terrific 2/1 with Coral to reach a final of a major tournament before the end of 2020. For this to happen, however, all the pieces need to fit into place, coach included.
The Three Lions’ turgid performances and subsequent group stage exit from Brazil 2014 is still quite the stain on Hodgson’s record and, as ever with England, it was the manner of the disappointment that stung most.
Should Hodgson get a second shot at World Cup glory? The jury is still firmly out, but lessons do appear to have been learnt, with the Three Lions 7/1 to win a major tournament before the end of 2020.
An exciting new England generation are waiting in the wings, and the island nation have recorded a 100 per cent record in Euro 2016 qualifying so far. Often in football you’re only as good as your last victory, and Hodgson has guided his side to six triumphs on the trot since England’s South American odyssey ended abruptly. So, all appears to have been forgiven.
It feels as though the Three Lions have undergone a major makeover since summer. So, the experienced gaffer should, perhaps, not be chastised for failing with the last remnants of a so-called golden generation that many more high-profile coaches than Hodgson had not been able to inspire.
The former Finland manager has shown surprising flexibility in recent games, happily experimenting with a diamond formation that has paid dividends.
This slight tactical shake-up has been promising, as has Hodgson’s willingness to give in-form players the nod, rather than relying on reputation.
The likes of Nathaniel Clyne and Stewart Downing have been capped or re-called due to impressive club performances, and the coach is expected to initiate even more youngsters into the fold with his next squad announcement.
Ross Barkley, Raheem Sterling and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are just a handful of the starlets that have shown an ability to gel under Hodgson’s guidance, although Euro 2016 may arrive before they have truly blossomed.
In this sense, it would seem churlish to offload Hodgson if England do not triumph in France, with the current crop of players still developing.
Harry Kane could offer solutions to the striking conundrum up front, providing both the potency of Daniel Sturridge and the work rate of Danny Welbeck in one package. Meanwhile, John Stones also looks to be a long-term successor to Rio Ferdinand at centre back, and could be the ball-playing defender the Three Lions are craving.
Russia 2018 would be a far better benchmark to judge Hodgson by, then, if he is to oversee the learning curves of Sterling and co. After all, there seem to be few obvious successors to his throne, with the likes of Gary Neville currently untested.
However, three years is a long time in the impatient world of football. So, should the FA choose to extend Hodgson’s deal, a paper contract could prove to mean little if England board an early plane home from continental competition yet again.