England has appointed West Brom’s Roy Hodgson as its next manager, eschewing media-fueled favorite Harry Redknapp. The question should not be why Hodgson was chosen over Redknapp, but why this was even controversial. The English media casts Roy Hodgson as unproven. In reality, he has a much better resume. It’s not even close.
At club level, Hodgson has won eight league titles with three different clubs. He took both Inter Milan and Fulham to UEFA Cup Finals. He has managed in seven different countries. He has also had two successful stints as an international manager. He ended Switzerland’s 28-year major tournament absence and brought the Swiss to the knockout stages of the 1994 World Cup. He came within three points of qualifying Finland from a tough group for its first major tournament in 2008.
Hodgson is an accomplished European manager at club and international level. He has not done it in England, but neither has Redknapp. Redknapp has saved two clubs from relegation. He won the 2008 FA Cup. He steered Tottenham to fourth place in 2010. That’s it.
To the resume add the skill-sets. Hodgson is deliberate. His teams play with a clear tactical vision. Redknapp is an ineffectual tactician, who has relied mostly on the force of his personality and buying better players. Tottenham’s collapse this season has been testament to his inability to adapt.
England’s Euro 2012 coach must be creative and put England in position to qualify from the group stage without Wayne Rooney for the first two matches. That will take more than letting the lads have beer and ketchup and hoping Stevie G can save the day. Even if Redknapp might provide a short-term boost, is he really the coach England wants overseeing its development through 2014 and 2016?
Finally, there’s the buyout. Hodgson costs the FA nothing and gladly accepted about half the salary Capello was making. To get Redknapp, the FA would have had to (a) pay him handsomely and (b) front the $16 million buyout from his Tottenham contract. Viewing Redknapp in the best possible light, he’s still not worth that.
Hodgson is not an elite manager, but if the constraints were English, available and politically viable, Hodgson was clearly the best option.
[Photo via Getty]