Roy Hodgson: Why He Will Be a Great Success as England's Manager
Those final two games with the Baggies will be the final buffer between Hodgson and the insanity that comes along with becoming the manager of the English national team.
It certainly will be an interesting month for Hodgson as he finishes out the EPL season and prepares England for Euro 2012 at the same time. It will be a challenging stretch where his entire career will be put under the microscope.
Hodgson will still need to decide which players will make up the Euro 2012 squad and if any modifications will need to be made to the starting lineup. He will also need to decide if John Terry will remain captain.
But the challenges Hodgson faces will be executed. England fans should be excited about Hodgson; he is the right man for the job, considering the circumstances.
When the FA had to start deliberations over whom their next manager would be, they realized that they needed to choose someone who is familiar with the players.
The candidate was not going to be someone that was from Fabio Capello's regime, but rather an outsider who understands those involved in the national setup.
With nearly every player currently playing in England, it meant that a candidate who has observed England's players on a regular basis was going to be pursued.
Hodgson has had the opportunity to watch nearly every player on England's roster play at least once—if not twice—this season. He has also managed in England for the last five years with Fulham and Liverpool, allowing him to make his own judgments on various players.
The experience will help Hodgson in a month when he is facing players that are also currently playing in the Premier League from France, Sweden and Ukraine.
One of his strongest attributes as a manager is his ability to get the most out of his players.
Hodgson demonstrated this multiple times while he was at Fulham, most notably in 2008 when he somehow kept the Cottagers in the Premier League when they appeared destined for the Championship.
Two years later, Fulham reached the Europa League group stage for the first time in their history.
Hodgson rejected that this would be Fulham's final resting spot in the competition, so he spurred the team onto a run to the Europa League final, defeating the likes of Juventus (after being down by three aggregate goals) and Hamburg along the way.
When it comes to managing players on the international stage, Hodgson has done it. He previously managed Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates and Finland.
Furthermore, the Swiss were able to reach the World Cup knockout stage for the first time since 1954, when they hosted the competition.
With Finland, he got the Huuhkajat to a FIFA world ranking of 33, the highest in their history.
Obviously, the England job is completely different to any of his previous jobs, but Hodgson has already learned what pressures he will face in a high-stakes position.
After managing at Liverpool in 2010 with a change in ownership and a squad that was completely overhyped, Hodgson will again find himself in a similar position with England.
Unlike many other cases, Hodgson will probably not face much scrutiny from the notoriously tough English media. Considering how the FA protected Hodgson from The Sun's attack on his speech impediment, expect this protection to be continued.
Headlines such as these ones from June 27, 2010, the day after England got eliminated from the World Cup, will not be anywhere near as harsh after England gets eliminated from Euro 2012 or the 2014 World Cup.
After Euro 2012, don't expect articles as damning as this one was to Sven-Goran Eriksson following his employment as national team manager in 2000.
The only way that some major criticism could occur is if England fails to qualify for the 2014 World Cup—or if another scandal happens.
Hodgson is set to find success due in large part to the work of Eriksson and Capello over the past 12 years. Both of these foreign managers were able to help modernize the English national team's style and start to build up the squad for future success.
Both men moved away from the old English style of using the long ball to generate goal-scoring opportunities. Instead, they used more European methods in order to break down different nations' defenses. In effect, they "Europeanized" the English national team.
The Europeanization of the English style certainly worked well for both Eriksson and Capello. Both have not only seen England qualify for their last five international tournaments, but they are also among the most successful managers in the nation's history.
Capello had a winning record of 67 percent, the highest of any national team manager. Eriksson is fifth at 60 percent.
Though Hodgson's sides have used long-ball strategies in the past, he will probably not go back to that plan considering how England have advanced without using it in recent years.
In a friendly at Norway on May 26, we will see what England's squad will do under Hodgson. Though expectations will be low for the English going into Euro 2012, this is a golden chance to once again obtain success.
Roy Hodgson can defy expectations. However, he will need to keep many of the same principles that were introduced by two of his predecessors in order to do so.
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