Roy Hodgson calls time on Premier League management as upcoming Watford exit announced

Roy Hodgson has confirmed he will be leaving Watford – and Premier League management – at the end of the season.

Roy Hodgson took the Watford manager’s job in January 2022 on a contract until the end of the season. He replaced another respected coaching veteran, Claudio Ranieri. It marked a return to work for the former England boss half a year after his Crystal Palace exit.

However, he hasn’t been able to guide Watford out of the relegation zone. Their return to the Championship will likely be confirmed on Saturday; they are 12 points from safety with only the same amount to play for.

And after those last four games of the season, Hodgson will be calling time on his managerial career.

After receiving a CBE for services to football on Wednesday, the 74-year-old has confirmed his intention was always to commit to Watford merely for the short-term. Hence, he will leave – and retire from management – in the summer.

“Obviously, it’s a short-term [deal],” he told Sky Sports News. “Certainly, I made it clear [to the Watford board] it would need to be a short-term one between now and the end of the season.

“I took that job on and came out of retirement to do that particular job.

“Now that job has unfortunately ended. I’ve enjoyed my time doing the job. I don’t think I shall be putting my name forward anymore for further sorties in the world of Premier League football.

“It’s a very demanding world and I think I’ve earnt the right to step back and enjoy some free time and spend some time with my wife and son.”

Watford boss could yet contribute further to football

That said, Hodgson – whose coaching career began in 1976 with Swedish club Halmstads BK – cannot rule out a return to football in another capacity.

“I don’t think we’ll ever lose that [itchy feet],” he added. “I think you can speak to any other managers that have actually decided to step aside and announce their retirement, but they still do something within the game.

“I’d like to think that I’m always going to be passionate enough about the game and involved enough in the game that some particular aspect of work might come way which I think I can happily do. But as I say, it’s not something I’m punting for.

“It certainly won’t be in charge of a Premiership team. I think that’s my swansong on that one.”

Roy Hodgson has earned his break

You have to give credit to Hodgson for his longevity in football. Working in eight different countries and more than 20 roles deserves serious respect.

Although not all of his stints have been successful, his desire to keep giving back to football, when many would have retired years earlier, is testament to his character.

Indeed, it is little wonder he has been recognised with an official honour.

What the future holds for Hodgson deserves to be decided by himself at this stage. If he didn’t return to football in any capacity, it wouldn’t be held against him.

But as one of the more likeable figures in football management, many will still be interested to see what he has to say or do while he still can.

For now, he will no doubt be focusing on what remains of his Watford stint. Saturday’s game against his previous club Crystal Palace should be an emotional occasion, even if it is the day they go down.

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