Why Hodgson deserves praise and how all is not lost for England

Date published: Tuesday 21st June 2016 7:42

Roy Hodgson: It's the hope that kills you

Roy Hodgson: It's the hope that kills you

So what if England finished second in Group B? Derek Bilton explains why England’s performances deserve plenty of praise and why few will relish facing the Three Lions in France.

So what exactly is Hodgson’s game? A manager with a reputation as being stoic, steady and unadventurous is currently trying to break down English fans’ walls without them even knowing. And rebuild them with huge bay windows which allows the summer sunshine to pour in.



Steady Roy has had to make way for ‘Amarillo’ Roy, a maverick, some would say reckless gambler convinced a hot streak is just around the corner in France. Like many I was stunned when I heard the news that Hodgson was set to make six changes to the side that beat Wales 2-1 last Thursday, including skipper Wayne Rooney. Fair enough if we had already won the group but he made these changes despite there being a very real chance that if things went pear-shaped, England could finish as low as third in Group B, and any route to the final would be far more complicated as a result. However he rolled the dice in Saint-Etienne and while England failed to hit jackpot on the night there was, and is, something rather refreshing about Hodgson’s devil-may-care attitude.

On another night England might have battered Slovakia 4-0. Always comfortable at the back and forever asking questions offensively, they huffed and puffed but were denied by some resolute defending and the thing any gambler covets above all else when the stakes are high, a bit of luck. Hodgson will catch a bit of stick from the press for his selections on Monday night but from my vantage point there was not too much wrong with the performance, merely a result which allowed Wales to top Group B. England are through to the last 16 however, and on this evidence few teams will fancy rolling in the long grass with the Three Lions.


Entertaining England

Jack Wilshere Wayne Rooney England

Football is the national sport. The richest sport and the sport that dominates the landscape in England. It dominates TV, newspaper and online coverage and does so by popular demand. Young and old alike want to rush home from school or work when tournaments like this come around and be entertained. And whether it’s by fluke or design England’s fans are being entertained in France. The team played well against Russia but were undone by a late sucker punch in drawing 1-1. Against Wales it was do-or-die and Hodgson rolled the dice when 1-0 down and nailed it as substitute Daniel Sturridge popped up in injury-time to claim a priceless three points for the Three Lions. In that match Rooney, Jamie Vardy, Dele Alli, Marcus Rashford and the aforementioned Sturridge were all on the pitch at the final whistle and for the last half an hour England’s midfield consisted of, well, Eric Dier. And in the final group match Hodgson’s men have done everything but score and dominated a Slovakia side who are far from pushovers.


How far do you think England will go at Euro 2016?

  • Last 16
  • Quarter-finals
  • Semi-finals
  • Runners-up
  • European champions


There will be sterner tests ahead of course but for now I’m happy to stick my neck out and lavish praise on Hodgson, a boss who I personally felt should have fallen on his sword after that lamentable World Cup campaign in Brazil two years ago. He’s being bold and asking his team to give it a lash. Just a few short weeks ago the man was pilloried by certain sections of the media over his squad selection, with former England captain Alan Shearer voicing his concern that Hodgson had gone for “reputation rather than form”, mostly notably regarding Jack Wilshere’s inclusion ahead of Danny Drinkwater.

The same critics may well be clearing their throats again but let us hope we don’t hear their well rehearsed laments for a while yet. Because for the first time in a long time in a major finals England have some tournament impetus. I was out there last week as a fan and the song that reverberated longest and loudest around Marseille, Nice, Paris and Lens was ‘Don’t take me home’. And what started as a good natured chant has now become a direct plea to the team and the manager. Nobody back in Blighty wants this adventure to end. Keep listening ‘Amarillo’ Roy. Keep listening.


Derek Bilton


What were your thoughts on the game? What must England do differently in the last 16 if they are to make further progress in France?

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Home Forums Why Hodgson deserves praise and how all is not lost for England

This topic contains 7 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  Paxman 8 months ago.

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    James Marshment

    So what if England finished second in Group B? We explain why England deserve plenty of praise and why few will enjoy facing them in France.

    [See the full post at: Why Hodgson deserves praise and how all is not lost for England]



    I wouldn’t say playing Rooney in a unfamiliar experimental position in the first game of the tournament and then drawing against a team we should really be beating is deserving of praise. The time for experimentation is in friendlies or when there are no other options, fact. We should know our first team XI, every other top team does. I would look at our coaching methods as we clearly have goals within the team. Kane and Vardy scored more than the entire Wales team combined and yet they have 6 goals!

    All is not lost for England, I still believe we can win but I fear that if we do well Hodgson will be kept on further by The FA, hindering the progress of the talent we have available. Who would be his ultimate replacement? I could guess but in truth there is no immediate answer.

    One thing is a must, ring up Southgate and start our U21’s on intensive set piece taking training sessions ASAP! Buy them a Payet Blu-ray!


    the specialone

    This is honestly one of the worst articles I’ve read in a really long time.When You can’t even top a group after being the strongest team by far,then it is anything but deserved of praise.

    The way some people judge the manager here is really hilarious.I mean so many people seem to be whinging about the changes made,can we honestly take a brief look at them.

    Jamie vardy and sturridge in for Kane and sterling – The latter have been rubbish for one and a half games.So that change was very much expected and there can be no complaints about it.

    Wilshere and henderson for Rooney and alli – Again people winging about these changes,yet when those two came on they failed to make any impact whatsoever.So how can you possibly criticise wilshere or henderson when the other two have hardly made a big impact.I also object rooney being used in midfield rather than a striker.

    Clyne and bertrand in for walker and rose – They managed to keep a clean sheet,which is the main objective of defenders.

    Truth is instead of identifying the real problem you love to single out players like wilshere just because he didn’t get a full season Club level only because he was injured.You gave him a 5,yet you gave rooney a 6,someone who came on and instantly lost the ball twice to wayward passes and hardly made an impact.

    The real problem is Hodgson,someone who neither knows his best team nor his best system.Someone who’s experimenting at the wrong time.Someone who’s making Kane and Bertrand take set pieces!
    A part of the problem are people like you who have written this article.Who want to shower praise on a person who made us scrape through the group with the strongest team on paper by far.



    Wow o specialone…calm down. It’s an opinion piece. The author has his..you have yours. They differ, no need to get so defensive. Crying about Wilsheres rating…he wasn’t up to scratch. He’s hardly played any football, he’s out of form and probably not even 100% match fit. Not his fault at all. An form, fit Wilshere is an asset…but Jack isn’t currently anywhere near his best. Rooney in midfield has worked and will prove to be even more effective against top sides. He can defend, is strong and has a better range of passing than any other English player. England have created loads of chances and have dominated every team they’ve played. The goals will come. Have some faith lad.



    I had to read that twice in case I was missing something, but I dont think I was. Possibly the worst article I have read on TT. It was almost if it was written by Hodgson himself. Roy Hodgson effectively wrote his resignation with those 6 changes last night and unless there is a dramatic upturn in fortune over the coming weeks then we will be looking for a new manager post the Euro’s. He has only won 1 game out of 6 tournament matches since he has been in charge and what ever level you are looking at, that is not good enough. We couldnt beat a poor Russian team, scraped a good win against Wales after Hodgson undone his errors at half time and then couldnt break down a stubborn, but not particularly good Slovakian team. If somehow you can find praise from that then fair enough but none from me.


    Al The Gooner

    Roy’s got the players there, he just needs to get the selection right and stick with it but I reckon the article is pretty much spot on.

    One thing that will change against the ‘bigger’ sides (Italy aside) is that they’ll come at us in a way none of our group opponents dared, leaving a lot more room for Sturridge, Vardy and/or Kane to exploit.

    I’m sure we’ll still concede, but hopefully get a bit more joy up front.



    The only thing we learned by making six changes against Slovakia is that the problem is the system, not the players. England are crowded in the middle, ponderous in attack, and dead simple to defend. How many times did Macca say “slow” when describing England when going forward? If Slovakia was what success looks like, I’d hate to see failure.



    Hmm – I certainly don’t agree with some things in the article, for example finishing second is okay, it puts us in the same half of the championship as Italy, Spain, & France, but I also am not as doom and gloom as many others on here. Don’t get me wrong, I cannot stand Hodgson, but at half time in the Wales games I said to the lads in the pub, I would take Sterling and Kane off for Vardy and Sturridge and that is what he did, and that was bold making two subs at half time.

    For the Slovakia game I wouldn’t have made so many changes but none of us know how the players were feeling, we don’t know how training had gone, and at the end of the day it wasn’t the players or the system, we just had one of those games, Germany had one against Northern Ireland, the difference was just one of their blocked shot fell to one of their players, so that was the difference between the two game. Luck

    Even Lens Lehman said on the telly box that he, as a German would not be comfortable facing this England side the way they are playing.

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