Written by David Robinson
We are now just hours away from the start of England’s Euro 2016 campaign and England will be looking to put in an improved performance at a major tournament since they were eliminated from the group stage at the World Cup. This will be Roy Hodgson’s third major tournament as England boss in which he has endured a lot of criticism as most who take the hot seat are expected to face. While I acknowledge that the nation is not taking tremendous strides towards success, I do believe that often quite relentlessness critique of Hodgson is harsh and unfair.
The ultimate judgement of a manager is of course the results. Euro 2012 gave encouraging signs with the former Liverpool manager only in charge of the team for a matter of weeks. England lost out on penalties in the Quarter-Finals having won the group ahead of France. I don’t think there could be much criticism based on performance in Poland/Ukraine. However World Cup 2014 saw England exit the group stage without a win which ultimately has to go down as a failure. Two good performances against Italy and Uruguay left the Three Lions with zero points having lost both games 2-1. In terms of performance England certainly were unlucky to be dumped out of the tournament after just 2 games but football is a results business so criticism in Brazil was understandable.
While a football fan should always demand the best out of their side, I do believe there is not always an acknowledgement of how limited the country is in terms of talented options. England have a good side but they have no right to be competing for trophies on paper. While nothing is won on paper, expectations are often set too high in all the excitement of a major tournament. A manager can only do as well as the players he has at his disposal and I believe Roy has generally done okay with the squads he has had.
Style of football
When Hodgson first came in following the resignation of Fabio Capello, he was left with a tough job of getting the players ready for Euro 2012 with just a matter of weeks before the tournament started and it was then clear to see that organisation and defensive structure were prioritised in the side. England were hard to break down, a result of Hodgson’s tactics and it made the side competitive. Over his reign he has been labelled boring and predictable. I once again believe England do not have the capabilities of playing fast, attractive football. If this strategy was implemented England would be exposed and simply out thought by more classier nations who are superior at retaining possession. Attractive football is likely to come through having technically gifted and flair players who can excel on the international stage. Despite all of this in my opinion, England did entertain at the World Cup playing some good football but ultimately lost so Hodgson is put in a very difficult situation.
credit Ben Sutherland
A lot of the time Hodgson is accused of continuing the tradition of picking the same players who play for the top clubs who are not always in the best form. While this does have a case to be true, Hodgson has delivered what the nation has demanded at times. In 2012 he started a young Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain vs France who was the type of unpredictable talent the country like to see. Then against Italy, Hodgson was not afraid to use the young and upcoming Raheem Sterling. He also gave game time to Ross Barkley who was also a raw young talent showing that he does have the nerve to gamble on players. Hodgson does have the adaptability to play to the squad’s strengths which we are now seeing with the diamond formation being deployed.
Do you agree with these points? Let us know in the comments below!
featured image by The Laird of Oldham