The past few days have seen Roy Hodgson put under unnecessary scrutiny by Gary Lineker and Harry Redknapp in what can only be described as utterly selfish actions from has-beens looking to salvage relevancy. Starting with Lineker: what business Hodgson had defending his England regime from Lineker's barbs during Match of the Day when he really should be preparing the national side for a crucial week is beyond me. Well I say "barbs", instead of Lineker laying siege to Hodgson like he did when he was behind his computer screen, he sauntered around wasting 50 minutes before asking the weakest of questions.
As pointless as that may have been, excerpts from Harry Redknapp's autobiography are completely cringe-worthy and far more controversial. The excerpts from his tell-all book reveal how Redknapp felt not only was he was the best candidate for the England job, but the whole nation and the England's playing staff had reached this conclusion. To further stick the knife in Hodgson's back, he goes on to state how Hodgson is only in the job due to the FA's incompetence and because he is 'better suited' to their needs. Redknapp's final dig at Hodgson (and perhaps I am reaching here) was to state he wanted Liverpool's Brendan Rodgers as his number two (assistant manager) due to his impeccable eye for nurturing talent.
(Sighs and takes deep breathe) Where do I start? I would hate to be the one to burst Redknapp's bubble, but he was FAR from the best candidate for the England job. Between Redknapp's allies in the media, and if we are to believe Redknapp had England playing staff texting him their support of his bid to become England manager, it is easy to see why he would be so cocksure of his abilities. It is just a damn shame the media lied to him and the playing staff of England are horribly informed.
What do I mean by this? Well lets explore Redkanpp's credentials and compare them with Hodgson's:
- Football League Trophy 1983/4 with Bournemouth
- Football League Division Three Champions (today's equivalent of League Two) 1986/7 with Bournemouth
- Football League Division One Champions (today's equivalent of The Championship) 2002/3 with Portsmouth
- Relegation from Premier League 2004/5 with Southampton
- FA Cup 2007/8 with Portsmouth
- Champions League qualification 2009/10 with Tottenham
- Champions League Quarter Finals 2010/11 with Tottenham
- Allsvenskan (Swedish Premier League) 1976 & 1979 with Halmstads
- Division 2 North (Promoted to Allsvenskan) 1984 with Orebro
- Allsvenskan 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989 with Malmo FF
- Svenska Cupen (Swedish FA Cup) 1985-6, 1988-9 with Malmo FF
- UEFA Cup Runners Up 1996/7 with Inter Milan
- 3rd Place in Serie A 1996/7 with Inter Milan (Back then only the top two teams qualified for Champions League)
- Danish Superliga (Danish Premier League) 2000/1 with Copenhagen
- Danish Super Cup (Danish Community Shield) 2001/2 with Copenhagen
- UEFA Cup Runners Up 2009/10 with Fulham
A mere glance at their two records will tell you Hodgson is the more successful manager; when taking into account Hodgson's international record their is only one winner. In 1994, he took Switzerland to their first major tournament since the 1966 World Cup; they were knocked out in the last 16 by Spain in the 1994 World Cup. He managed to achieve back-to-back qualification, this time for the Euro 1996 tournament, although he was unable to compete due to leaving for Inter Milan during the course of the season. His time in Switzerland was a major success - Switzerland were as high as third in the FIFA world rankings. He has also managed the United Arab Emirates and Finland. With Finland, he took a nation that has never qualified for a major tournament (and had previously never looked like doing so) to the cusp of qualifying for Euro 2008 - 3 points separated Hodgson's men from history - Redknapp repeatedly under-performed with talented West Ham and Tottenham teams. If Steven Gerrard (among others) did indeed text Redknapp stating he wanted Redknapp for the job (something he has denied today), we should take it with a pinch of salt - this is the same man who said Joe Cole was better than Lionel Messi.
"We have to remember what we are. We are English. We tackle hard, are tough on the pitch and are hard to beat. We have great characters. You think of Spain and you think technical but you think of England and you think they are brave and they tackle hard. We have to remember that."
* Jack Wilshere on player nationalities - quoted from BBC Football
This takes me onto my last point: when we are so obviously poor, why does new FA chairman, Greg Dyke stoke up the nations ambitions?
"The two targets I have for the England team are - one, to at least reach the semi-finals of Euro 2020 and two, win the World Cup in 2022."
*Greg Dyke on England's future - quoted from BBC Football
All jokes aside, until the narrow-minded views of people like Jack Wilshere's change, England will always be running a deficit from grass roots. Until people like Gary Lineker and Harry Redknapp stop causing mayhem, England will always be distracted. Until people like Steven Gerrard and Greg Dyke stop trying to rebirth the Golden Generation 2.0, England will always been overwrought with expectation.