Ignoring Redknapp makes Roy a turnip-in-waiting

New England boss Roy Hodgson is welcomed to Wembley by FA chairman David Bernstein
New England boss Roy Hodgson is welcomed to Wembley by FA chairman David Bernstein
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Most new England managers are afforded at least a few weeks’ honeymoon before the savaging starts.

Roy Hodgson can forget all about that.

The left-field manner of his appointment at the expense of Harry Redknapp has ensured the knives are being sharpened for the 64-year-old – even before he gets behind his desk at Wembley.

Redknapp was the choice of the nation, the people’s champion and, perhaps just as importantly, the darling of the national media.

The manner in which he holds court, is accessible and will send a reporter home happy with his fill of juicy quotes and anecdotes ensures the press is on his side.

A sizeable section of Pompey fans will disagree because they are loathe to forget the deeds of a man who walked out on them for their deadly rivals. But Redknapp is a likeable man.

He has charisma, knowledge and the same passion for his country as the fan in the pub.

Moreover, he has the awareness it’s the basic tenets of football management that count – the ability to know what components make a successful team and the ability to motivate and maximise a player’s talent.

Redknapp has the rare gift to make a player walk tall, boost their confidence and then get them to reach beyond their limits of ability – as the likes of Linvoy Primus, Hermann Hreidarsson and Arjan De Zeeuw will testify.

His successes at Pompey, arguably more than anywhere else, prove he was the right man for the England job.

It might be through gritted teeth for some but Pompey fans know that as much as anyone.

The Londoner’s acquittal of tax evasion charges seemingly paved the way for him to be given the job which seemed his destiny.

The conservative suits at the FA had other ideas, however.

It appears there is one man, in particular, who has played a key role in ensuring Redknapp wasn’t the choice to succeed Fabio Capello.

Director of football development Trevor Brooking had grave doubts about plumping for the option who could have generated excitement for the national game going into this summer’s European Championships.

Redknapp was too much of a loose cannon, had too much baggage and those who would keep digging into his past would unearth something in the end, was the sentiment.

So the person who was the right choice for the job was discounted and now looks destined to never be given the role he desires above all others.

History looks set to remember ’Arry as a modern day Brian Clough – the original best boss never to manage his country.

And so we turn to Hodgson for hope moving forward.

It’s grossly unfair to dismiss the West Brom boss and his credentials for the job.

Hodgson’s CV and experience more than stands up to inspection, with extensive international management under his belt, as well as time spent in some of the most pressured jobs in club football.

An impeccable knowledge of the world game, highly-regarded coaching skills and unfailingly polite and gentlemanly demeanour are assets.

But having sat through media briefings where the former Inter Milan boss has been unfairly derided as a doddering footballing relic, it’s inevitable how he will be treated in the tabloid quarters of the national press.

There was more than a little of the air which saw Graham Taylor famously mocked as a garden vegetable by The Sun in those press conferences.

The underwhelming nature of Hodgson’s appointment has seen enthusiasm, which had started to build for the Euros on the back of the Redknapp for England bandwagon, dissipate.

Because of that, the fear for the new England manager is he is now little more than a turnip-in-waiting.