FORMER England midfielder Paul Scholes believes manager Roy Hodgson has been given an easy ride considering the team endured their worst World Cup campaign for more than half a century.
Scholes says a foreign coach, such as previous boss Fabio Capello, would have been subjected to far harsher criticism for failing to steer England through a group including Uruguay, Costa Rica and Italy, and challenged Hodgson to shun calls to merely copy other European nations and instead devise his own vision for developing talent at all age groups.
“Roy Hodgson is a likeable man who’s very good with the press. But if this was Fabio Capello he’d be getting pelters,” Scholes said. “Costa Rica, Italy and Uruguay are not special teams. We’re probably on the same level. But England have not managed to get in front in any of our World Cup games. When I said go for attacking youth in our team formation I thought we’d at least get one result.”
Scholes believes the root of the poor display is a lack of English players in the Premier League, and backed Football Association chairman Greg Dyke’s proposal to limit the number of foreigners playing in this country.
The former Manchester United player also urged Hodgson – backed by the FA to continue until the 2016 European Championship – to create a blueprint for England teams from youth level to seniors, and have faith in the plan to pursue it long-term.
“We can, of course, learn from others, but England needs to build its own identity,” Scholes added in a blog for bookmakers Paddy Power.
“There’s a massive opportunity and the message needs to come from Roy Hodgson through the academies. Give England its own football identity. Tell the world – this is how we play football.
“Build a team around our best players, don’t change styles every two years based on copying another team that does well.”