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How Hodgson's tactics could suit England

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Alistair Magowan - BBC Sport | 08:15 UK time, Thursday, 3 May 2012

The Football Association has made a habit in recent times of appointing a manager in contrast to the previous incumbent, attempting to blow away the stench of failure as it seeks a bright new horizon.

And yet in securing the services of Roy Hodgson, the national governing body has opted for an elder statesman, similar in some ways to previous England boss Fabio Capello.

While Hodgson has not won as much silverware as the Italian, his coaching experience is without question and - unlike Capello - he takes charge of England with experience at international level, including a World Cup in 1994.

He will also be able to get his ideas across in a more communicative manner than the former AC Milan and Real Madrid manager, who struggled to learn the English language. That will be a crucial factor according to former Blackburn and Scotland striker Kevin Gallacher, who played under Hodgson at Ewood Park.

"Roy is a pure coach," Gallacher said. "You only get a week to train with the national team, so it is all about organisation, getting players thinking about the system you want to play.

"I personally think it will discipline the players a bit more and make them a bit more mentally stronger. You only have four or five days to work with players to get your points across, but the players will understand him. He makes things very simple, but he does make you think."


A reliance on a specific system may fill the shortage in confidence suffered by the players that puzzled Capello during his reign.

But the biggest question, with Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp in mind and a track record which includes fallow periods at Inter Milan and Liverpool, is whether Hodgson is a galvaniser of good players rather than a motivator of top-level ones?

His successes at club level in Sweden, the Swiss and Finland national teams, and more recently with Fulham and West Brom, point to a manager who can create a framework where players know their jobs and can complete them with distinction.

When more liberty or creativity is needed by players who perform best free from the shackles, however, will the 64-year-old allow them that privilege?

Gallacher says in his experience, Hodgson never curbed attacking players' instincts. But former Swiss and Liverpool defender Stephane Henchoz, who also played under Hodgson with Switzerland, says there is a question mark over his handling of big-name players.

"He was manager at Inter Milan and at Liverpool, two big clubs, and he didn't have massive success," the 37-year-old said. "But one thing I'm sure about is he knows the English mentality, which is very important. As a foreign manager they don't really know how to deal with English players, you have to know the English mentality and so for Roy it's a big plus."

Much of the answer will also boil down to what England need and who is available as they approach Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine this summer.

Capello qualified for the 2010 World Cup and the European Championship with a group of players, who were largely disciplined and, once he figured out a system which was less rigid, swift on the counter attack. Now it is hoped that Hodgson can do a similar job in moulding a collection of promising talents with some of the more senior figures in the squad.

The Italian took a whole qualifying campaign and a tournament to realise that England played better with two holding midfielders, allowing a front four to flourish, and it must be hoped that Hodgson continues in a similar manner rather than falling back on a trusted 4-4-2, which has become largely outdated and outplayed in international football.


Former Liverpool and Republic of Ireland defender Mark Lawrenson regards Hodgson as more of a "counter-attacking coach than defensive" and believes he has enough experience to recognise where England's strengths are

"If you look at West Brom, he played two up front which not many teams do with Peter Odemwingie and Shane Long. He's also played 4-5-1 or 4-3-3," Match of the Day pundit Lawrenson said.

"He's been around Europe and he's managed in all different countries, and these really experienced boys in their 60s have played every formation known to man. It doesn't really matter what he used at Liverpool or Fulham or Inter Milan or West Brom.

"I know he's missing the first two games but I don't think that Roy has had the opportunity to manage somebody like Wayne Rooney for a long time. When these guys get to manage the top teams, then you adjust the way you play accordingly.

"Hodgson is a very intelligent football man and he would recognise that the Manchester United striker is such a top player that he will set the team up to get the best out of him."

Without the suspended Rooney for the first two games and a hanging doubt over the injured Darren Bent, there is a hole in England's frontline that needs filling. That could open the door for one of Hodgson's favourites at Fulham, Bobby Zamora. Others, like Stoke boss Tony Pulis, have vouched for the inclusion of Peter Crouch, who has 22 goals in 42 games for his country.

There may also be a clue to Hodgson's take on the long-term should he select some of the more exciting young players such as Danny Welbeck, Daniel Sturridge and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

With the likes of that trio, Rooney, Ashley Young and Theo Walcott there is plenty to choose from to add flair to any defensive organisation.

And in giving those players a clear structure to work from, Hodgson may just offer them the guidance they need in what will be a tough group against France, Sweden and Ukraine.

The new England manager has forged a reputation in getting the best out of good rather than top teams and in domestic terms, it could be argued that England are more Fulham than Tottenham anyway.

You can also discuss more tactical issues and follow me on Twitter


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  • Comment number 1.

    Yet another blog on Roy..super

  • Comment number 2.

    If he plays zamora i will throw up. I am willing, but yet, to be convinced by Roy. I hope he does well, but we can't expect anything more than Semi's surely? If Rooney is on song and we don't play donkey Barry, Semi's is the extreme furthest we can expect to get.

  • Comment number 3.

    Semi's, Expect, Same sentence


  • Comment number 4.

    NO.2. donkey barry? really? plays every game for the current league leaders, could easily have got the man of the match award on monday night. Short-sighted fans might not see how important the job he does for a team is. Not the most creative player, but a consistent ball-winner, rarely outplayed in the middle of the park, and can play a perfect pass 9 times out of 10.

  • Comment number 5.

    I can see Roy going for a 442 when everyone's fit. He tried to play it at Liverpool with Torres partnered by Ngog and Kuyt but never really worked.

    I would go 433. Barry, Parker and Gerrard in midfield with Downing and Young supporting Welbeck (if Bent isnt fit). And for me id go with Lescott and Cahill in defence!

  • Comment number 6.

    I never understand this 'getting the best out of players'. If you are a professional (of any sport) the onus is on the individual to get the best out of themselves using whatever motivational tools (psychology, visualisation etc) to achieve this.

    As an aside on football specifically, international football is not the best football in terms of the best games, best players, best drama, best entertainment. These accolades are found in the Champion's League. So unlike almost all other sports (eg international cricket and rugby) international football is not the pinnacle. Until this changes I can fully understand footballer's apathy towards it when it's not the ultimate professional challenge and reward it should be.

  • Comment number 7.

    The dust has settled and upon reflection RH is probably the best bet at the moment. We seem to forget that the England job (outside these fair shores) isn’t really a big deal, so is it any surprise that it’s not top of the list for pedigree managers out there.

    However after reading blog upon blog, canvasing tweeter etc I’m failing to see any stats that show Hodgson in a good light. I want to believe, truly I do, but for whatever reason the next 4 years seem like a lot of pain with a scratching of pleasure.

    Now I know the same stats can be used to build or destroy an argument, but can any of the bloggers on here give me something tangible that will give some hope for the rest of us that the Three Lions will roar not meow over the next 4 years.

    Please, do your best!

  • Comment number 8.

    no.4. yes barry is a donkey. no.2 was correct.

  • Comment number 9.

    Really, i don't think anyone cares about this subject anymore than the suarez evra one. i wish him all the best but we know what to expect for roy, there wont be any surprises in this years euros for England. they should consider putting all their efforts into the Olympics squad, at least there they might have a chance of winning something. i can see nothing but another embarrassing tournament for england.

  • Comment number 10.

    I am very interested to see who he will pick for the squad to go to the Euro´s .
    Not much point in talking tactics until you can actually see who is likely to play.

  • Comment number 11.

    i think Roy will play 4-4-2 - thats what worries me, its such an out-dated system at international level and we will get outplayed in midfield playing this. we have to play 4-2-3-1 against good sides, and 4-3-3 against lesser sides.

  • Comment number 12.

    At 09:55 3rd May 2012, Torres9 wrote:

    no.4. yes barry is a donkey. no.2 was correct.
    just to confirm, yes Barry is a Donkey EEEEEEEEOOORRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!

  • Comment number 13.

    When Roy was Swiss manager he played a 4-5-1 system with the rather large Turkey bloke (can't remeber the rest of his name soz) as a target man and getting the ball wide - a system which is still valid today in international football as space in the middle of the park is too congested. Roy also like to play counter attacking football, which in international football is a skill needed as breaking down teams (unless you have the falir of Spain) is a necessary.
    I think Danny Wellbeck is a good player but I don't think he is ready for the big stage just yet, same with Sturridge. I think he will go with Zamora or Crouch in the 1st two games, but I don;t see much difference in the squad makeup than Capello's as there is a dearth in real talent due to the premier league having too many foriegn players and not enough of the younger players being given game time.
    I do hope he does not take Lampard, as although he is a good player still, he has dropped off in his quality this year and does never really perform for England, and if Gerrard is fit you can't play them in the same team as they are too similar.

  • Comment number 14.

    Englands problem has been the same for the past ten years, its not the manager nor the tactics, its the players. People like Rooney and Gerard who think the fans should love them and praise them simply because they wear the England shirt.

    If the players turn up with a desire to do well then England will do well, if they turn up as usual to simply go through the motions of a tournament, then once again we will be embarassed on the international stage.

    Personally i expect the germans to win the tournament.

  • Comment number 15.

    Will the squad Roy picks include Rio , or JT , or both ?

  • Comment number 16.

    At 09:58 3rd May 2012, repo wrote:

    Newcastle done it! did you see did you see!!! ;)

    worthy of a blog no doubt!

  • Comment number 17.

    So Lampard has dropped of in quality, but Gerrard who has been injured or just pish for the majority of this year must go if he is fit

    (that is before we get into the debate on if he has ever actually performed on a regular basis for England, and dont give me that "he has never played in his position" carp, because unless he is a keeper he has played pretty much everywhere else.)

  • Comment number 18.

    englands obvious weakness in recent tournaments has been inability to keep the ball and not having the craft to create chances against the better teams.roy will have them organised and hard to break down but i can see us losing on penalties again if we manage to scrape thro the group.redknapp would have played in a more positive way and surely would have been a better bet. cant see roy seeing out 4 years!

  • Comment number 19.

    16.At 10:10 3rd May 2012, King Red wrote:

    Chelsea were pants !

    The goal from Cisse was amazing , should be goal of the season , pity he said it was just a hit and hope in the post match interview.

    I thought Mikel has a bit naughty and deliberately took out Tiote , it looked as if he was out for revenge after an earlier clash.

  • Comment number 20.

    @17 is a reply to @13

    Stupid stoneage BBC software with no edit function.

  • Comment number 21.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 22.

    His choice of strikers will be interesting. He will need to pick two or three of the young ones to go with Rooney and maybe Crouch.

  • Comment number 23.

    Whoever is manager and whoever is in the squad, I can see this being Englands's worst ever performance at a finals. From the choice of base-camp, to the dithering FA to the media hacks already circling like vultures, it's got epic FAIL written all over it.

  • Comment number 24.

    im sorry but roy hodgson is the new england manager, i can assure england will not even make the quarter final with roy, and please people say he has the experience so what, pep never had the experience and look what he did, and yes it can be argued he had everything, but england arent bad either.

    roy was managing west brom who were fighting to stay in primer leauge, and how his the guy who will win us things. worst decesion ever,

  • Comment number 25.

    Anyone saying Barry is a donkey is a bandwagon hopping know nothing.... i'm a UTD fand but have no bother admitting that Barry has had an amazing season at City.

    Both him and Carrick are light years ahead of England's darling, Scott Parker. The reason neither darts around making last ditch tackles is because they are already in position to cut out the ball.... as for possession and passing, they make Parker look like a pub player.

    Unfortunatly, Parker will start, because he has"English grit".

  • Comment number 26.

    I wouldn't be taking Rooney if it were my choice.

    We will be doing well if we make it out of the group, so realistically I would imagine he would be available for 2 games at the most.

    Because I do support the national team I would love to be proved wrong, but I just cant see it.

    I felt before Capello quit that this was a tough group, and I just dont feel we are good enough (for whatever reasons) to get through it.

  • Comment number 27.

    At 09:51 3rd May 2012, Jason wrote:

    I never understand this 'getting the best out of players'. If you are a professional (of any sport) the onus is on the individual to get the best out of themselves using whatever motivational tools (psychology, visualisation etc) to achieve this.


    Anyone who has managed a team in any walk of life (not just sport) knows that even the best performers can be pushed harder by a good man manager. The manager is critical when things are getting tough and it recalls to mind the apocryphal comment about Sven when England played Germany "What we needed was Winston Churchill, what we got was Ian Duncan Smith". Part of what the manager does is to give the player new tools and visualisations otherwise, as the saying goes, "if you always do what you've always done, you always get what you always got".

    Anyone I have heard or read interviewed say that RH has given them new ideas and expanded their responsibilities. It is the players' responsibility to take them on baord. I just hope the egos in the dressing room listen to him - they may actually learn something.

  • Comment number 28.

    Ticky has obviously never watched an England game. Rooney and Gerrard both work hard and never give less than 100% effort. Either can have a substandard day but they both drive the team on.

  • Comment number 29.

    "roy was managing west brom who were fighting to stay in primer leauge,"

    That statement is almost as wrong as your spelling (or typing).

  • Comment number 30.

    At 10:15 3rd May 2012, repo wrote:

    16.At 10:10 3rd May 2012, King Red wrote:

    Chelsea were pants !

    The goal from Cisse was amazing , should be goal of the season , pity he said it was just a hit and hope in the post match interview.

    I thought Mikel has a bit naughty and deliberately took out Tiote , it looked as if he was out for revenge after an earlier clash.
    yeah i didnt like the way mikel went about that, Tiote is some player, although newcastle didnt look much worse off after he left the pitch, hopefully its not his season over, he's had a big hand in getting newcastle to where they are.

    il love to see them in the champs league next year, i think AP deserves that. harry has let his squad down and has now spat his dummy out and said he'll never manage england.

  • Comment number 31.

    Football is a team game, a team will always do better than a bunch of players.
    Unfortunately in the past we have fielded Rooney and some others it looks like Roy is proposing to continue that tactic.
    I didnt work before and it wont work in the future.
    Pick a team of 11 to play together based on current form.
    If Rooney is on form and fits in the team then pick him, just dont pick him because his name is Rooney.

  • Comment number 32.

    Good to know that Roy is capable of mixing it up with regard to formation, but there are 2 other factors which make a manager tactically astute or not as the case may be.

    I think what is of real interest at the moment is selection, does Roy rely on the tried and tested players or is he willing to take risks and blood youngsters, because this a good way you can differentiate between a good and a bad manager, a good manager will get the balance right, play enough experienced players to maintain some stability within a team at the same time being able to take risks and gamble with new younger players to add a little zip and renewed energy when required. Not an easy task even SAF can get this wrong as was suggested by most when looking at the recent Man U , City game.

    Secondly does Roy have a plan B, I know it's possible I've seen club managers change tactics and or personnel within a game to great effect turned a game around so that a team that clearly looked like losing, won the game. I can't remember the last time an England manager was able to do this. Snatched victory from the jaws of defeat so to speak.

  • Comment number 33.

    Semis? You're having a laugh.

    I hope to be proved wrong, but I'd be surprised if we made the quarters.

  • Comment number 34.

    John Terry, Frank Lampard, Danny Welbeck and Bobby Zamora should not be anywhere near the England team none of them are good enough. Welbeck for one wouldnt even get a second glance if he didnt play for Man Utd.

  • Comment number 35.

    If England manage to get out of the group stages then Rooney will be needed, It'll be a boost to the squad and inc ase of any injury Rooney could be ready to step in fresh. we all know Rooney is Englands best striker.......... even with him missing 2 games.

  • Comment number 36.

    I was excited about the Euros, i knew we wouldn't win it, but i was still excited.

    Now Roy is here?

    I am not excited.

    Cheers Roy, boring manager, boring tactics, boring FA.

  • Comment number 37.

    And if England get out of the group stages playing without him would you really want to take out the player who (obviously if we get that far) been performing to replace him with someone who has only performed (this can be said about pretty much the whole squad) at one tournament ?

  • Comment number 38.

    Hodgson needs to keep it simple and play to England's strengths. Under Capello, there was far too much 'pass for the sake of it'. There is no point retaining the football if you don't try and move it forwards. England do have talented players and his job is to structure a system they feel comfortable in and find the correct balance of young and older players. Every good team has that balance.

    Right now, England should be playing 4-2-3-1 because we need the bodies in midfield, particularly against superior technical teams like the French. The England job has always been about getting the best out of our players and allowing them to recreate their club form for the three lions. Roy Hodgson is the kind of coach who could possibly achieve that.

    As for those on here writing off Gareth Barry as a 'donkey'. People really don't see half the things that happen on a football pitch do they? Barry was unfit in South Africa and used incorrectly in the tactical system by Capello. He has no pace yet was often the last covering defender against the Germans. The City midfielder has a pass completion of 88% this season. Yaya Toure, arguably the best midfielder in Europe currently, is on 90%. So if Barry is a donkey, does that make Toure a shirehorse?!?! So many people watch football but see so little. Its depressing.

    Its a team game and England's problem in recent years is that the team has been a bunch of arrogant individuals who think they are better than they actually are. You need a mixture of talent, hard work and consistency.

  • Comment number 39.

    "The Football Association has made a habit in recent times of appointing a manager in contrast to the previous incumbent, attempting to blow away the stench of failure as it seeks a bright new horizon.

    And yet in securing the services of Roy Hodgson, the national governing body has opted for an elder statesman, similar in some ways to previous England boss Fabio Capello."

    What an Absolute Muppet.

    Sven Goran Erikson --> Steve Maclaren. Hiring the assistant manager is the absolute opposite of an attempt to "blow away the stench of failure as it seeks a bright new horizon"

    This was only what, 6 years ago?

    What an incredibly incorrect opening paragraph that was.

    good work!!!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 40.

    1. To say a formation is out-dated is nonsense. It all depends on what players you have. Prime example - United this season have been awful playing 4-5-1, and brilliant if not a little open with 4-4-2. England with Parker have a proper DM so 4-4-2 will be far more secure, especially with the defensive nature of International football nowadays. As long as the wide players work back and Rooney as he always does will drop back into MF to make a 5 when needed.

    2. Barry is not a donkey - that is totally unfair. He is however, and I have always maintained this, completely average and shouldnt be anywhere near the England squad, let alone the first team.

    3. Why on Earth is Gerrard all of a sudden - according to a lot of posts I saw the other day on the captaincy, and the 3 teams given above in this blog - a shoe in for the starting XI?? He has had one good game in 3 years against Everton this season!! If he gets back into the squad, then we may as well give up now.

  • Comment number 41.

    @25 Shows you do not watch much football. Parker wins more ball and works harder than the other two (have the other two won or been nominated for PFA and FWA awards?) and is not down to positional play (they are all watch the ball too much and get exposed), Barry's passing is like watching Ray Wilkins, sideways sideways and Parker is no better, while Carrick does have the best passing vision and range of the three he has a major problem of not being a great tackler and probably the biggest ball watcher of them all. However I would take all three.

  • Comment number 42.

    A near on 35% win percentage with all his Premier League teams is interesting. I've always thought of Roy Hodgson as a galvaniser of good players and not being able to handle the big egos, very similar to former England manager Graham Taylor - hopefully Roy is not saying "Thank you linesman, you just cost me my job" at the end of it.

  • Comment number 43.

    Looking at Roy's clubs stats, we have a manager that has:
    .an average of only 1 win per 3 games
    .conceded more goals per games than goals scored
    .lost more games than won games (level so far at West Brom)
    at all 4 clubs (I appreciate that bar Liverpool, none of them could be labelled as a top club, so that explains some of the stats)!
    On a different level, England has never achieved better than the semi-finals (one time was as far back as 1968 & the other on home soil in 1996 - still the most enjoyable England team I've seen, with the one from the 1990 world cup - thank you Terry & Bobby (RIP)).
    With all that in mind, England has to be seen as a quarter-final team at best and anything better than that will be an over-achievement, despite the huge pool of talent that this country has been producing over the years.
    Is that fair enough?

  • Comment number 44.

    Richards Jones Terry Baines
    Milner Carrick
    Young Gerard
    Walcott Sturridge

    What about that for a radical attacking team

  • Comment number 45.

    If Bobby 'row z' Zamora is anywhere that plaine i will personally break into the airport and escort him away.

  • Comment number 46.

    If Roy is an elder statesman is Harry not then? (seeing as he is actually a few month older)

  • Comment number 47.

    And to the Barry haters out there - you know what they call gareth barry in spain?

    Sergio Busquets - barcelona and spain holding midfielder.

    English fans just don't know how to appreciate this kind of player (carrick suffers similar stick), you need someone in that role, and barry is very good defensively also!

    If you aren't flying around at 100mph all over the place, you are "slow" or "ineffective"... it is a problem with the english mentality, Barry keeps nigel de jong (world cup finalist starting central midfielder) out of the city side.

  • Comment number 48.

    Carrick over Barry any day. Barry should have never played for England again after his performance against Germany at the World Cup. I'll never forget him pulling out of a tackle because he knew he would get booked and miss the next game, but was absolutely the right thing to do to stop the German counter attack that led to the third goal.

  • Comment number 49.

    At 10:36 3rd May 2012, Jesus the Teddy Bear wrote:

    Depends on what type of game is to be played, Rooney is good at covering and getting back when needed, that may be needed more than his goals, with Defoe or welbeck up top and rooney playing a deeper role england have a far better chance of beating the "big boys" if they try to play against the likes of spain and germany they will be torn a new ashhole

  • Comment number 50.

    #32 - all good points. You can't just drop good players because of their age. As an example, if Rio is available, you have to take him as he's been the best English CB this season.

    #34 - I dont know if you know nothing and got lucky or just got it 50% wrong by saying Lampard and Welbeck shouldnt be in the Engalnd squad. I'm not saying he should start, but Lampard is one of the best goal-scoring midfielders around and if you are chaisng goals then you would definitely look to bring him on. Welbeck has been fantastic this season. as with any youngster, he has had some bad games and made mistakes, but he is the best young striker in the country (yes better than ball-hog Sturridge).
    You're dead right on terry and Zamora though. Not only is Terry a bad personality to have in the dressing room with all thats gone on not just this season, but before as well (ask Bridge), but his form has been awful as well! His sending off against Barca opitomised him for me.

    #36 - Yawn! Typical of the problem with some of the English "fans". Try watching some of West Brom's play, or Fulhams Europa League run and then review your comment.

    Just one final point for all the Hodgson doubters - look at Switzerlands U-17, U-19, U-21 teams and also how many players under 23 are in the first team squad and how talented they are. Hodgson started that!!!

  • Comment number 51.

    At 10:48 3rd May 2012, TeniPurist wrote:

    And to the Barry haters out there - you know what they call gareth barry in spain?

    Sergio Busquets - barcelona and spain holding midfielder.
    thats strange because i call busquets a lot of things.... especially when he's diving for gold!!! something i don't see Barry doing, Barry isn't England quality though, he's missing something.... a personality maybe

  • Comment number 52.


    Its a fair point, as I said I just dont see us getting that far, regardless of who is in charge (I happen to think this is a very good appointment by the FA)

    Its largely irrelevant anyway because baring injury its already been confirmed that Rooney will be on the plane.

  • Comment number 53.

    #47 - comparing Barry to Busquets is embarrasing. If Barry had half the technique and tackling ability and heading ability and game reading get the point.

    Busquest also knows how to pass forwards.

    On the Carrick vs Barry argument, Carrick wins, but only if you play Parker. Carrick is unbelievably good on the ball in more advanced positions where he can creat openings, but an absolute liability off it. If Parker doesnt play, Carrick shouldnt play.

    (although, personally as per the comments on blending youth and experience, I would take Scholes over both of them)

  • Comment number 54.

    At 10:58 3rd May 2012, Nevs_A_Red wrote:

    Carrick and Parker would imo be the best fit. Scholes prob would work but i cant see him playing for England again. If he was to have a bad tournament the media would rip him the shreds and thats from what i gather the reason he stopped playing for england.

  • Comment number 55.

    25 is correct, both Barry and Carrick are better than Parker but because they don't play for London teams they won't get recognition from football writers. As for Gerrard, he's been useless and injured for two years now and definitely shouldn't be playing. At least Lampard has been playing fairly well recently, but I wouldn't take him either.

  • Comment number 56.

    Have to wade into the Barry debate. He is very good at what he does which is fill holes in midfield and win the ball. In the "battle of the water carriers" whcih has gone on all year at Man City between Barry, De Jong and Milner, Barry has won hands down. Mainly because he can retain posession better and has a decent left foot.

    Unfortunately for Garry Barry his shortcomings are brutally exposed when the flair players (Silva, Tevez, Toure etc) are off form. If they play badly Barry looks very one dimensional, if they play well then he looks good doing the hard graft in the mid-field.

    As England possess so few decent flair players, he is shown up for what he is. Very good at limted parts of the game.

    So to sum up Barry is not who we shoudl be worrying about, more getting the best out of our creative talents. If we do this then Barry will happily be cast in the role of supporting actor as his pals win the oscars.

  • Comment number 57.

    where is Grant holt!?!?!?!??1

  • Comment number 58.


    I agree - the arrangements and elad up to the Euro's does scream of epic fail.

    Which is probably why England will win it.

  • Comment number 59.

    This (Number 43.) was my first post but it is still awaiting moderation 30 mins later!
    Is this a common practice? If so, how can one take part in the normal banter if by the time the comment appears, another 15 or so have already superseeded it?

  • Comment number 60.

    Cannot believe the 2nd post in this blog mentioned England and the Semi Finals! i really thought everyone was past all that.

    It will be a decent achievement if we get out of the group. We must be looking to use the euro's to develop for the next world cup.

  • Comment number 61.

    @27 spidermike

    Anyone who has managed a team in any walk of life (not just sport) knows that even the best performers can be pushed harder by a good man manager. The manager is critical when things are getting tough and it recalls to mind the apocryphal comment about Sven when England played Germany "What we needed was Winston Churchill, what we got was Ian Duncan Smith". Part of what the manager does is to give the player new tools and visualisations otherwise, as the saying goes, "if you always do what you've always done, you always get what you always got".

    I agree a manager can make the difference but it is up to the player to be receptive and motivated to want to develop, listen, learn and apply the manager's instructions. I fear as international football is not treated by the players in the same way as international cricket or rugby, there is less motivation from the players - hence their abject performances in the premier league/champions league era.

  • Comment number 62.

    #55 - in some ways yes, but I like Parker and he is the only out and out defensive midfielder we have - some one who consistently breaks up the play through tackling/harrying/sitting in fornt of the defense. All the best teams have this sort of player:
    United - Keane, Madrid/Chelsea - Makelele, Brazil - Dunga, Spain/Barca - Busquets, Holland - De Jong - just as examples.

    #54 - You may well be right on Scholes.

    How is everyone feeling about Cleverly? The sort of midfield player England have never had, at least not in my lifetime (I mean in style, not yet ability). Fantastic passer, buzzes around in space, as his name suggests, a very clever player and can get into the box and get goals as well (as his loan stint at Watford showed). For me his style is very similar to Iniesta, but he has had injuries this season so he would be a risk for sure.

  • Comment number 63.

    I hope Roy gets support, and does well.
    More importantly though, I'm looking forward to the blogs by Joe Pasquale and Ken Dodd, and hear their perspective on what formations Roy may or may not pick.

  • Comment number 64.

    41.At 10:40 3rd May 2012, daveh wrote:
    Shows you do not watch much football. Parker wins more ball and works harder than the other two

    The problem is he commits too many fouls and he will pick up too many yellow cards. A decent quick passing international midfield will make him dizzy as he chases after the ball like a dog in the park.
    He can get away with kicking people in the EPL because he is the media darling and Mr squeaky clean with all the refs.

    Positionally I think Barry or Carrick are better players for the holding role.

  • Comment number 65.

    Folks should try and leave club politics out of it when talking about the England squad - Gerrard is a world class player and leader and certainly one of the best England has.

    As for Barry and Parker - fine, one or the other, but not together, otherwise you just get midfield stodge. Both need a flair player ahead of them like Gerrard.

    If Hodgson leaves out Terry then the rest will fall into place.

  • Comment number 66.

    #56 - very good points, and quite true. However this is where the debate comes in about do you pick midfielders who make the flair players play better, or midfielders who only play well if the team is doing well, but in that situation are probably the "gel" guys that you need.
    The way international football is at the minute, the midfield is key if you want to dominate a game and therefore you have to pick the better midfield players who can make the team tick.
    England should probably play on the counter attack as we cant compete and dominate a Spain/Holland, so then Barry just filling gaps may be ok, BUT then what does he contribute to the counter attack - nothing.

    So in conclusion - no Barry. :-)

  • Comment number 67.

    " in domestic terms, it could be argued that England are more Fulham than Tottenham anyway"
    Rubbish, we are definetly Tottenham, all the talent in the world but always manage to mess it up

  • Comment number 68.

    44.At 10:43 3rd May 2012, derbyshirered wrote:
    Richards Jones Terry Baines
    Milner Carrick
    Young Gerard
    Walcott Sturridge
    What about that for a radical attacking team

    My thoughts:
    Jones is not good enough
    Ashley Cole is our best player where is he ?
    Walcott is a headless chicken
    Sturridge is too greedy and only plays for himself

  • Comment number 69.

    #65 - I know it is impossible for you to hear (and I love the irony of "leave club politics out of it" before making your nonsense Liverpool love in comment), but allow me to correct your comment:

    Gerrard WAS a world class player and leader and certainly COULD HAVE BEEN one of the best England HAD.

    Sadly it didnt happen and it is time for him to see out his days in mediocrity unless by some miracle he re-discovers his form of 5 years ago.

    Nothing to do with the fact he plays for Liverpool, he just hasnt got it any more. Believe me I wish he did, but he doesnt.

  • Comment number 70.

    Agreed - Jones isnt ready, but should be in the squad for learning curve. Cole or Baines is a toss up so fair enough. Milner - good god noooo!! Worse than Barry! Gerrard - I've said enough on him already. Walcott and Sturridge - totally agree with you, totally! :)

    But never mind that, I'm concerned by the 4-2-2-2 formation! ;-) lol

  • Comment number 71.

    What a pessimistic, negative lot we England "supporters" are...

    Don't misunderstand; I watched every miserable minute of the 2010 WC, and understand how much disappointment there has been. But in my mind's eye I can only see our players performing better under an English manager, not expecting immediate success, but hoping for the best...

  • Comment number 72.

    69.At 11:26 3rd May 2012, Nevs_A_Red wrote:

    I think Gerrard will make the squad along with Lampard. If we put out an inexperienced team they will be like rabbits in the headlights and we will get tonked.

    We dont have the young players with the tactical nous or technique to do a "Germany" .

  • Comment number 73.

    I'm pretty pleased with Hodgson's appointment. He did brilliantly with Fulham and has done well at West Brom. And to be honest, in hindsight, he didn't actually do that badly at Liverpool considering the circumstances.

    He has a good eye for a player (e.g. Odemwingie, Meireles, Hangeland), a wealth of tactical knowledge and can put the two together to make a team often worth more than the sum of its parts.

    And as for the talk of him being unable to handle egos, I think I'd be more than happy if the egos were left off the plane. As long as we send a squad willing to work for each other, I think we can make a good account of ourselves (I reckon quarter final could be considered a success).

  • Comment number 74.

    "Harry Redknapp going to Euro 2012 as BBC Sport pundit"

    Ahh the BBC's love-in all becomes clear.

  • Comment number 75.

    Everyone needs to give Hodgson a chance if they want to see England play well, simple as. He has a wealth of experience at International level and is a great manager.Phil Jones and Chris Smalling are talented and if Roy wants to bring youth to the team they should have a chance to play. The Germans always play young players that work well as a team rather than relying on individual brilliance.

  • Comment number 76.

    England do not have a No10 so it is crucial that they have a combination in attack rather than a bloke stuck up there just to bounce the ball off. The best combination seems to be Welbeck and Rooney, two terrific individual talents who work hard for the team and who have combined well with each other this season. Rooney can drop off quite happily and both players can pull wide to allow the midfield to drive through and the wide men to underlap.

    Now as we know, the inteligentsia and the chattering classes believe that 4-4-2 is dead (again), so let's position Rooney on paper in the hole - or for the benefit of the inteligentsia, between the lines - and call it 4-4-1-1 or something like that.

    Next we need wide men with pace, skill, the ability and timing to pass and to cross the ball effectively, an excellent team ethic and of course a goal threat. The best we have on the left is probably Ashley Young, so he's in. On the right though is where the system breaks down, with both Walcott and Lennon falling short of the requisite qualities - even so, I would have to choose Walcott, although I hope that Hodgson can unearth someone from one of the more unfashionable clubs and bring him in to do the job, possibly compensating for any shortfall in attacking and creative qualities by working on the combination with his RB...

    Except that England right now do not have a RB good enough to make up the deficit. Smalling is decent but his progress has stalled, apparently crippled by bouts of panic and he seems to have a couple of moments in most games when he just looks out of his depth. Jones again is decent, but he is prone to vacating his position and then gifting the ball to the opposition. The other option is Richards, raved about by many, but left out by his club manager who wisely recognises that he is a liability defensively.

    Glen Johnsen still looks the best option at RB to me, and perhaps Ashley Young can swap flanks and Downing can come in on the left, with the pair of them interchanging then that could be a realistic plan B.

    Centre midfield should be Carrick and one other, probably Gerrard; the Liverpool man will need to be told to play it simple whenever he can. Cut out the hollywood nonsense (Rooney should be told the same) and just concentrate on keeping possession of the football as much as possible. Both Carrick and Gerrard have good energy, and Carrick can sit to compensate for Gerrard's tactical weaknesses; both can also pick a pass, with carrick in particular being able to keep the ball moving effectively and bringing the spaces into play - Gerrard should defer to him as much as possible, and his reward will be that he is the man to drive through the centre and provide the team's main goal threat outside of the strikers, a role he is well suited to.

    Gerrard would also be the obvious choice to link with Welbeck I suppose, during Rooney's absence. This naturally leads to either Parker or Barry being picked in midfield even in my formation. I of course realise that in reality one of them will probably be in ahead of Carrick already, which is a crying shame. Then again, England have had a superb title-winning combination of Scholes and Carrick to call on since 2006/07 and they have criminally failed to do so, with barely a peep out of the football media who instead chose to bang on about how 4-4-2 was dead again - though try telling that to a United side who used it plenty and often on their march to being English, European and World champions in 2008, for example.

    In central defence unfortunately it'll have to be Terry. If Ferdinand is prepared to play alongside him then that'll be an easy enough decision for the manager, although I'd imagine we're more likely to see Terry and Cahill. Either way, it is the one area of genuine weakness in the side with Cahill (and Ferdinand) liable to make a mistake, and Terry liable to be manouvred out of position by the cleverness of the opposition more and more these days - he's very predictable let's say.

    In goal it can only be Joe Hart. He has a mistake in him that will probably cost England a goal at some point, but he is easily the best option if Foster doesn't want to be his back-up.


  • Comment number 77.

    Nice article. I would have preferred to give harry a go but to be honest the more i think about it the more hodgson seems to suit the job better for me.
    I think with harry we would have done well initially with him being such a "players manager" but when it comes to defensive work and counter attacking which England would have to do more and more later on in the tournament i think roy is far the better choice.

    My early stages team would be....

    Richards--Smalling--Terry--A Cole
    -A Johnson-------------Chamberlain-

    Later on in the tournament...

    -Richards--Smalling--Terry--A Cole-
    -A Johnson---------------Young/Welbeck

    Maybe switch Lampard in for some games.

    To be honest its pretty hard to pick any 11

  • Comment number 78.

    "But in my mind's eye I can only see our players performing better under an English manager"

    Like the manager before Capello ?

  • Comment number 79.

    I am positive about Roy’s appointment and wish him and the team well. I have just seen this advice from an apparently dead ringer Roy look a like. Some interesting ideas but what is tikka-tikka football?

  • Comment number 80.

    The 4-2-2-2 system was used very successfully at Villareal by Manuel Pellegrini

  • Comment number 81.


    Im pretty dissapointed in cleverleys form since hes been back from injury. Ideally i would have had cleverley n wilshire in midfield with maybe parker behind them but wilshire is injured and cleverley is out of form/fitness so i would have to count him out of starting 11 at least maybe not even in squad :(

  • Comment number 82.

    76.At 11:34 3rd May 2012, TheTrawler wrote:

    Nice post !
    I would try to do a "Greece" or an "Inter Milan" , stay solid in defence and go for counter attack.
    Have to discount Rooney due to the ban , Sturridge is greedy but I think him and Wellbeck will work well together.


    G.Johnson Richards Terry A.Cole

    Gerrard Lampard Carrick Barry

    Sturridge Wellbeck

  • Comment number 83.


    I just read Stewart Downings name mentioned in the side!! I'm hiding under my desk now... :-(

    #72 - we dont know that for sure and wont unless we try it - it may even work the other way in that they'll play with freedom and fearlessness and we'll be better off for it. I do think the best way is to blend youth and experience, but it has to be the right players - Gerrard just isnt. I can't re-iterate how much he shouldnt be picked. Lampard, yes.

  • Comment number 84.

    To be honest I would like to see Defoe instead of Welbeck. Maybe Jermain is more of an impact sub, but I'd choose him over Danny anyday.

    Other than that I like the team. I've always liked a 4-3-3, Parker, Gerrard and Barry midfield with Walcott, Young, and Defoe/Welbeck up front.

  • Comment number 85.

    @78 Jesus the Teddy Bear

    Kind of agree, however with "The Wally with the Brolly" he was the last remains of Sven, so when he was finally given the job, it felt like nothing had changed.

    A bit like "enjoying!!" your girlfriends twin sister, yep there's slight differences but you kinda know what to expect!

  • Comment number 86.

    34.At 10:31 3rd May 2012, Oblong wrote:
    John Terry, Frank Lampard, Danny Welbeck and Bobby Zamora should not be anywhere near the England team none of them are good enough. Welbeck for one wouldnt even get a second glance if he didnt play for Man Utd.


    Welbeck first got called up when he was playing for Sunderland by the way.

    At lot of people are instantly dismissing the older players - the England team should always consist of our best players, regardless of age. Therefore players like Lampard, Gerrard, Ferdinand, Barry all have to be in the squad. We simply dont have enough quality younger players to justify leaving them out.

    The only player I would leave out is John Terry, as in my opinion he is more trouble than he is worth.

  • Comment number 87.

    Please don't take Rooney to the Euros (England win more games without him than with him. Two red cards for your country is a disgrace. He's a liability. HIs attitude at the WC was pathetic).
    Please don't shoe-horn Lampard and Gerrard into the midfield.
    Please do something different, freshen up the team.
    Please get out the group stage - I would count that as a success.

  • Comment number 88.

    No-one has mentioned the idea of playing Walcott through the middle off Welbeck in Rooney's absence - in a 4-4-2, but he can drift out wide to add a number to the midfield when we dont have the ball - in my opinion it is certainly his best position - he never ever will be a good winger and although he may be better off the shoulder, I'd like to see him running at the CB's from deep at pace because if he goes past his man, we dont have to watch him give the ball away with a shocking cross or pass, but rather see if he can bury the one-on-one against the keeper.


    #81 - cheers, I agree he hasnt played that well, but he has been brought on or started in games where we have been awful generally, while not 100% match fit. He would be a massive risk though and it would be a shame but he may miss out. I hope he does go though and Hodgson gets him fit and confident in the warm-up games.

  • Comment number 89.

    @85 mysoapbox

    I do agree, I was just highlighting that the nationality has naff all to do with it, that was what was going to make the difference according to the original poster (or that's the way I read it)

  • Comment number 90.

    88.At 11:54 3rd May 2012, Nevs_A_Red wrote:
    No-one has mentioned the idea of playing Walcott through the middle

    Crouch , Defoe , Holt , Bent , Wellbeck, Sturridge , anyone down the middle but Walcott he is just a headless chicken.

  • Comment number 91.

    #87 *sigh*

    There's always one Rooney basher. BTW - Englands win % is higher with Rooney than without. Just thought I'd point that out.

    Agree with your Gerrard - Lampard comment though.

    First it was Downing, now Defoe is being mentioned....who next? Bring Ricketts back?

  • Comment number 92.

    I would take lennon over walcott anyday. Lennon crosses and assist rate is much better. Walcott is just a waste of space

  • Comment number 93.

    At 11:09 3rd May 2012, cralph3 wrote:

    where is Grant holt!?!?!?!??1

    Grant holt is a cracking poacher at league level but at international football you need to give something abit different to the team in your game which is why he has not been mentioned much. Good player though

  • Comment number 94.

    One thing I would hope is that Hodgson takes players who are in form. There isn't enough time to play yourself back into form in the majority of cases and I would like to see a 'lesser' player playing well than a great player with the touch of Ali Dia.

  • Comment number 95.

    In 1990 we had some lads who played with team spirit, desire and guts.... Since then I have never seen a England team play with any of these attributes, and the next crop look just as toothless and weak, throw Grant Holt in the mix......... He will ( at least) bring some pride back to this team, And I would bet, bag a couple as well... (I'm not talking about team mates wives JT)... Grant Holt for England!

  • Comment number 96.

    What about our bestest player EVERRRRRR David Beckham

    I awaite the BBC blog telling us how he would make the difference between being runners up, or winners.

  • Comment number 97.

    @89 Jesus the Teddy Bear

    The way it looks to me is, the FA know who they want then they along with the media "play" us by saying:-

    We want the peoples choice: Kevin Keegan
    We want success across Europe: Sven GE
    We want an Englishman: Wally
    We want a proven tactician with results: Fabio Capello
    We want an Englishman with the right experiences: Roy Hodgson

    Heres a thought FA: Forget that, just get someone who can get results!!

    Also your post was ripe for me to shoehorn the twins analogy in!

  • Comment number 98.

    Hart (VC)
    Carrick:Gerrard (C)
    Young;Rooney (Wellbeck 1st 2 games); Johnson

    Roy is a safe pair of hands, a decent appointment although I remain to be convinced that he can handle the big names and personalities. The fact that expectations are so low for the Euros will hopefully help, as the expectation in this country is one of the main problems. Although I'm a fan of Redknapp, I don't think he'd have been good for long term.

    Whatever people think Barry is a good player to have in the squad, players in his position are constantly underrated, especially English ones. I would also have Lampard in the squad, a player of an undoubted quality that would be a great asset to bring on when needed. It's still a bit early for Jones/Smalling to be regular 1st teamers, and although I think Terry is an excellent player (his commitment on the pitch is second to none) and one of the best centre backs to have played in the premiership, I don't think he should go to the Euros. He seems to have too much power in dressing rooms and could be unsettling to the younger players.

  • Comment number 99.

    Those figures in the blog are not particularly encouraging... average of about 35% win ratio across all four PL clubs. Would be interested to hear his stats for international clubs and Inter?

    The players for England, regardless, they will only have one excuse for underperforming and that is exhaustion with no winter break in the PL. Roy might become another scapegoat or shield for the criticism which should be aimed at the Premier League for being behind the times in this case, or the players for not motivating themselves, simply because Hodgson is more of a strategic organiser than a 'marquee' motivating manager.

  • Comment number 100.

    "Those figures in the blog are not particularly encouraging... average of about 35% win ratio across all four PL clubs. Would be interested to hear his stats for international clubs and Inter?"

    But really does it tell the whole story.

    Do the teams he generally manages expect to have 70% + percentages.

    Sure Liverpool do (Unless its King Kenny) and Inter no doubt did (although even though I watched Football italia in the mid 90's I cant remember for sure) but most ofthe time the teams he takes charge of are just happy to be safe and competitive with those around them

    I think he could be perfect for England, sadly I don't think the 'star' players will let him play the game the way he wants too.


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