The Andy Gray Column: Roy Hodgson right man for England job

Summary: ambassador Andy Gray was talking exclusively to SW Londoner…


I DON’T understand why but the national press seem to be against the appointment of Roy Hodgson as England manager – but what’s for certain is they are.

Roy may not have the support from most of Britain’s media but I do know he will have the player’s 100 per cent backing and is a very popular choice.

We have seen some papers come out with ludicrous headlines and some in the press still banging the Harry Redknapp drum fairly loudly.

But what is done is done and I for one think Hodgson is a great appointment and all of this negativity will pale into insignificance when he gets his squad together.

I was not surprised, like a lot of other people that Roy got offered the job and I think it is a fantastic move – I really do.

The press seemed to be picking the manager themselves, they almost set up an agenda to try and get Harry in.

Certainly the London press were, and also the national press were after Harry, they made that very clear and they weren’t prepared to accept someone else.

But I just don’t think it was as simple as that what with Tottenham’s demands in the mix and it’s been proven.

And I always thought Hodgson would be in with a chance because he’d been interviewed before for the job, so they obviously had him in mind and for a national coach he comes with just about the perfect CV.

It is not the easiest job to walk straight into and he has some tough decisions to make and things to sort out straight off the bat which is never easy.

He was obviously asked about them in his press conference and he was pretty cagey about it but the whole Rio Ferdinand and John Terry saga needs sorting.

The first thing he will want to do is get a squad together and have a chat with them.

Other than that he’ll do things like talk to Rio in particular I think, so when he meets the press he’s told them he’s more than happy to play for England and whoever he’s playing alongside.

The other big one is that he’ll have to decide who his captain’s going to be moving on and into the Euros.

And then another big decision he’s got to make is who’s going to be sat alongside him for England games as his assistant, who’s going to be on the training ground with him working with the players and what, will the chemistry of his backroom staff be.

So he’ll concentrate on what he’s doing for West Brom in their final two games and once we get the season over with, he’ll be looking forward to gathering his players for the first time and sorting out his squad.

But the one thing I am sure about is that every one of those he picks will respect him, no matter of their standing in the game.

I think that if any of the England players don’t respect or listen to him then they’d be doing themselves and their country a disservice.

I don’t think there’s an England player in the squad who will not sit and talk, and listen.

This is a different thing from club management and you’re not with the trainers the whole time, you don’t buy and sell, you pick the best team, the best squad of players for you, and they will want to work with him, I’m sure they will.

Now we have to wait and see if he can deliver and Roy knows that’s exactly what he’ll be judged on.

He’ll be judged on his personality, he’ll be judged on can he produce the results for England in a major tournament, and he knows that.

As for Harry, I know he came out and said that he has missed his chance and that he will never manage England now and I fear that he has a point.

Harry’s 65 now and Roy could be in the job for at least four years and that’s going to take Harry very near his 70s and he might well be looking to retire around about.

But never, say never in football. If it goes disastrously for Roy in the first couple of years then there might be a vacancy around and Harry might be reconsidered for it. But I can understand what he’s saying, he feels that the age he’s at, the four year contract already been given to Roy – perhaps next time around England wouldn’t be looking for a senior guy and that they would be looking to groom one of their own.

But we will have to wait and see what happens but Harry knows the score and he, like everyone else, will be wishing Roy the best of luck I am sure.

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