Euro 2012 - Paper Round: Drab, average... a yes man in a blazer

Mon, 30 Apr 08:49:00 2012

The decision to open talks with West Brom boss Roy Hodgson about the England manager's job has been met with predictable derision by the nation's papers.

West Bromwich Albion's manager Roy Hodgson chats with Tottenham Hotspur's manager Harry Redknapp - 0

Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp was, and remains, their choice for the job - as this round-up of what the papers' top writers have to say shows.

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The Sun: After Fab…The Drab

Steven Howard: The fact that Redknapp has not even been granted an interview will be seen as little more than an insult. And an indication that the old bad blood between him and Trevor Brooking might still exist — despite Brooking’s insistence to the contrary. Many will view it as a cynical ploy by the Wembley suits. They know it is a controversial appointment, especially after Hodgson’s failure at Liverpool. But could there have ever been a better time to bury what for a lot of England fans will be bad news? Right in the middle of the closest title fight for years. Knowing that though they will have to face up to criticism from many quarters this morning, the moment the Manchester derby kicks off tonight there will only be one main topic of conversation. Safe, safe, safe.

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Daily Mirror: Oh why, Oh why, Oh Woy? – FA have done another 'Clougie'...snubbed Redknapp, the people's choice, for a 'Yes' man in a blazer

Martin Lipton: The nation demanded one man. The only possible contender. Mercurial. The players' choice. The fans' choice. Even the media choice. But the Football Association have never been populist, even when it would have suited them. That was why Brian Clough never got the call he wanted, twice overlooked by the FA power-brokers despite the will of the man on the street. And as David Bernstein overlooked the clamour for Harry Redknapp and offered the key of the nation to Roy Hodgson, the Wembley boss…opted for the company man ahead of the people's choice.

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Daily Mail: P52 W20 L20 - Is this a job for Mr Average?

Martin Samuel: Poor old Harry Redknapp: in the end, he just wasn't ordinary enough for the Football Association and England. Ordinary would have fitted the schedule. Mediocre could have slotted right in. The last thing the FA wanted was a manager whose season went to the wire, who was still in there sparring with Arsene Wenger and Roman Abramovich come May. Played 52, won 20, lost 20, drawn 12: that is Hodgson at The Hawthorns. His team lie 10th, neither up nor down. It would be hard to sit more squarely on the fence. Ensconced neatly in the mediocrity of mid-table, Hodgson is approachable in a way that Redknapp is not. 

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The Times: Blazer fits for Hodgson but not the burden

Oliver Kay: For Hodgson, there is the added burden of not being Redknapp. Much of it is about perception, of course, but then was that not the whole problem, according to Hodgson, at Liverpool? In football, perception tends to matter an awful lot. The FA weighed this up and decided, unusually in the modern era, to go against public, media and indeed player opinion. As such, the "safe" choice represents a big gamble.

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The Guardian: This courageous, shock choice may not be the right one

Daniel Taylor: At some point the Football Association is going to have to offer a plausible explanation about why it has decided Roy Hodgson has better credentials than Harry Redknapp to lift and invigorate this England squad, and then at least it should become easier to make sense of its thinking and understand the processes involved. Maybe it has been influenced by the way Tottenham have lost their way since the middle of February… Or could it be that everyone got it wildly wrong and saw something that was just not there when Redknapp walked free from Southwark crown court and, within hours, Fabio Capello's resignation had apparently left the way open for an almost seamless changeover? The alternative is that something has led the FA to change its mind. In which case it has made a decision that can be seen in two different ways. On the one hand, it has gone for a safe option, a mid-table manager whose best work in England has been done at two relatively small clubs in Fulham and West Bromwich Albion. On the other hand, it has at least shown an element of courage, if that is the right word, not to go for the man who was considered the overwhelming favourite from the word go.

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Daily Telegraph: A good man takes on the Impossible Job

Henry Winter: The main conundrum Hodgson must solve is how to prepare the England players mentally. This was the attraction of Redknapp; the Spurs manager is not the greatest tactically but those who have played under him spoke of how well he motivated them. Hodgson does not enjoy that man-management reputation. Nor did Fabio Capello. The players run out there with the white shirt weighing heavily on them. They worry about the critical headlines if they slip up, the sort of media storm that blew around Rob Green and his family after his mistake against the United States at the 2010 World Cup…England is a whirlwind that can blow players’ confidence away. They need a faith-healer, somebody to soothe their nerves. If Hodgson can gain their trust by organising training sessions that appeal, and a game plan they can easily absorb, he has a chance.

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The Independent: It is not fair, but Anfield will always haunt him

Ian Herbert: England have been here before, with Roy Hodgson. When Sir Alex Ferguson, of all people, was pointing them in Sven Goran Eriksson's direction after Kevin Keegan's dramatic departure, 12 years ago, he was one of the English names on the huge, blank piece of paper Adam Crozier pinned to a wall for the selection committee's consideration in Helsinki, where the national side happened to be playing a World Cup qualifier. Hodgson fell at the first hurdle – failing what Crozier considered to be the "sustained success" test….history will damn him again and again with one word. Anfield. Well, his record there may have marked him down as a "small club manager" in many eyes but in this season of relentless revisionism, when managers are built up and knocked down, history judges Hodgson's 191 days at Liverpool rather differently now.

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Daily Express: Little joy in a chase for Roy

John Dillon: In living rooms and pubs across the land last night, the news that Roy Hodgson had been approached about managing England flashed on to the Sky Sports News screen. Immediately, a nation sighed... then turned over to watch the results of The Voice on the BBC. Or ordered another pint. And perhaps some peanuts, too. No, this is not the announcement that will have the country jumping with excitement and joy about what comes next for its benighted national football team. If ever there was a candidate who fits the job description “a safe pair of hands”, it is Hodgson.

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Daily Star: FA facing backblash over Roy.

Brian Woolnough: Is he the right choice? Harry Redknapp is the man the public and players wanted but the FA, in their wisdom, have gone for a professor rather than a motivator. It is controversial, surprising and the wrong choice. English football needs a lift, a shot in the arm and someone to inspire. Whatever happens at today’s secret meeting, it could still be the supporters who dictate this. At the start of the season Hodgson admitted he could never take the England job if the fans didn’t want him. His experience at Liverpool– when the supporters drove him out – damaged him badly.

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