Euro 2016: Is Manager Roy Hodgson Really England’s weak link?


I was very surprised to discover that England’s Roy Hodgson was going to be the best paid coach at Euro 2016.

The England manager earns a staggering £3.5m a year.

That is more than World Cup winning bosses Joachim Low and Vincente Del Bosque. It’s also more than Italy’s Antonio Conte who won three Serie A titles when he was in charge of Juventus. Roy actually earns more than double the wage afforded to Didier Deschamps who is hoping to guide the host nation France to the European title this summer.

England face almost a must not lose fixture against Wales on Thursday. Hodgson earns £3m more than his Welsh counterpart Chris Coleman.

Now Roy’s wage wouldn’t annoy me as much if I thought in some way he justified it. Credit to him and his agent for securing such a generous package.

I’ve been following his career since he was Switzerland’s manager in the early nineties and he’s always been a decent, diligent coach. But he’s never really been seen as a top level gaffer.

His honours in management outside of Scandinavia haven’t been spectacular. In fact at Liverpool he was extremely disappointing as he failed to understand the clubs history or manage the fans expectation levels.

Hodgson is more of a manager that comes in firefights and then gains consistency without going beyond the standard levels that you’d expect. That isn’t a bad thing, most coaches would take being consistently decent but the very best bosses demand and expect much more!

If you look at his record as England boss it kind of proves my point.

He came in when the Three Lions were in turmoil and he settled things down. In the qualification processes he’s consistently done well and got the results needed. He has a 60% win ratio as England manager and that looks to be a healthy record.

But when it counts Roy and his sides seem to come up short, both in terms of his tactics and their performance.

In major finals, Hodgson has been in charge of eight competitive fixtures and he has so far only picked up two wins!

The World Cup in 2014 was a disaster for England. Yes they were in a tough group but in the end they went out without as much as a whimper. Plus don’t forget it was the minnows of the group, Costa Rica,that eventually topped it while the English side finished bottom with only one point to their name. The fact is that England were scared of the Italians and the Uruguayans (and they weren’t even that good) and that fear caused the side to freeze and Roy couldn’t work out away to change that.

That brings us to England’s opening game of Euro 2016 in Marseille on Saturday against Russia.

Now for the most part the English side dominated the game and played well. Once again Roy wanted to go bold with an attack minded selection. The wingback had great games going forward and Eric Dier was a star in midfield.

His inclusion of Raheem Sterling raised a few eyebrows. The youngster has hardly kicked a ball for Man City this year. Looking at him on Saturday night, he clearly wants to prove himself and do well but that often meant he’d try too much and struggled to provide any real threat with his runs or passes. He looks crippled by a fear of underperforming and that then leads to him underperforming. He’d race past a defender and then immediately slow down rather that take advantage of any space he might have had in front of him.

Looking at him, I think he needs a spell on the bench, an am around him and then fling him on with twenty minutes to go.

After finally breaking the deadlock, England struggled to compose themselves and put the game out of sight.

Roy bizarrely brought off his most experienced player in captain Wayne Rooney and brought on Jack Wilshere who is clearly not match sharp. He would have been better to bring off the younger Dele Alli and moved Rooney in behind Harry Kane.

The reason I’d have taken Danny Drinkwater was because he’s more defensive minded, makes more tackles and makes smart passes that relieves pressure on his defence. He’d have been ideal in those circumstances that England faced against Russia. Yet Roy selected five strikers, played only one of them as a striker, another as a central midfielder and didn’t bring on any of the others even though he had one substitute left to make.

That game was also crying out for Jamie Vardy to come on and defend from the front, pressurise the ageing Russian defenders and stretch them with his pace.

England started sitting further and further back as the final whistle approached. Everyone knew coming into the tournament that the English defence was their weakest link. So why try and sit back and hope for the best? Roy needed to be smarter with his end of the game tactics and his substitutes.

I honestly believe that Russia could well be this groups bottom side. So it is worrying that England could neither kill them off nor defend their lead against them.

Again why on earth is Harry Kane, England’s top striker, taking the corners? It makes absolutely no sense and gives the opposition defence a positive advantage as they don’t need to worry about the in form forward.

As the tournament goes on can Roy Hodgson prove once and for all that he is tactically astute enough to turn things around and make England a force in this competition? I’m not so sure. Yes they may get into the knockout stages but can you see them really having enough to beat the best nations in Europe?

At the moment it still looks as though Roy plays too much by year rather than have the right plan for the big games!

I’ll happily apologise if Mr Hodgson proves me wrong!


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