Hodgson must counter Harry factor

Sunday 29th April 2012 22:09

Redknapp: Was firm favourite for job

Redknapp: Was firm favourite for job

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TEAMtalk feels the biggest obstacle facing Roy Hodgson as a potential England boss is the wealth of support for Harry Redknapp to take the job.

Let's start with the positives.

Roy Hodgson is a perfectly competent football coach.

He has vast experience, of both international and club management.

At 64 he is the ideal age, in Sir Alex Ferguson's eyes at least, for a role that he will be asked to fill in the next few days.

He has few friends in the media which, for neutrality alone, is a good thing.

And importantly, he is out of contract in the summer.

Yet, there is a 'but'.

Hodgson was hounded out of one job recently for not being somebody else.

Now the Football Association must slap a "handle with care" notice on the Londoner if Hodgson is not to be ousted from the England job far earlier than he would hope purely because he happens not to be Harry Redknapp.

Having latterly opted not to speak about the England vacancy, other than to say the intense speculation surrounding him was having no effect on a team that were genuine Premier League title contenders in January but now must end the campaign with a flourish purely to secure a top-four berth, Redknapp's thoughts this evening would be very interesting.

Unlike Hodgson, he cannot count Inter Milan or Switzerland or Finland or the United Arab Emirates amongst his former jobs.

He hasn't managed in eight countries.

Instead, Redknapp can slap an FA Cup (2008) on the table. He has taken Tottenham into the Champions League and then reached the quarter-finals, in the process beating holders Inter Milan and knocking AC Milan out.

He has nurtured Gareth Bale and helped him become a world-class talent, he has brought the best out of Luka Modric, Scott Parker, Rafael van der Vaart and even Ledley King's dodgy knees.

He has done this with a style of football that people enjoy watching.

And he has done it with a smile on his face to match those of any journalist he encounters.

His brief interviews from his car, arm out of the window, in the early days after Capello's exit, were theatre in themselves - just the arena in which Redknapp excels.

Once a troublesome court case had finished with his acquittal on all charges, just hours before Capello quit, it seemed the final barrier to the England job had been removed.

This evening he has learned there is another one. He is not the first choice.

Even if Hodgson now says no, would Redknapp still be up for it knowing the four men that matter wanted someone else, even if their opinion is at odds with the wider public?

It is only a week ago that senior FA board member Phil Gartside put his head over the parapet and declared his backing for Redknapp, joining the likes of Ferguson and many others, who all appeared to be supporting the obvious candidate.

Now, some will be revising those views, knowing they need to be seen to support Hodgson.

Others will be sharpening knives to a fine point which can inflict a pretty nasty wound.

Last Tuesday, when Stuart Pearce announced that England's Euro 2012 squad was set to be named on May 10, it was felt some kind of movement was imminent, despite the FA's counter-argument.

Tonight, the move has come. It's just that no-one expected it to be like this.

By Simon Stone, Press Association.

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