Credit to Roy Hodgson for saving the day – and his job - with the boldest decisions of his England reign

 
Trevor Steven
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Hodgson's position would have come under severe pressure if England had lost to Wales (Source: Getty)

Roy Hodgson cut a worried figure during the first half. His team were made to scrap by Wales; it was not going well.

He rubbed his brow and knew that, as things stood, he probably only had 45 minutes left as England manager.

Defeat to Wales would surely have meant he was out of a job after this tournament.

Read more: Player ratings from England's win over Wales

But he turned the match around – and saved his own skin – by making the boldest changes of his four-year spell in charge; the changes that needed to be made.

The fixture was always going to be a struggle. Wales’s players are mostly from England’s top tier, so this was in many ways a Premier League game.

It was slightly fortuitous in the end, but England got the result they so badly needed and Roy deserves full credit.

Catalyst for England's comeback

Taking off Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling for Daniel Sturridge and Jamie Vardy at half-time – not waiting until 10 or 15 minutes into the second half – was a strong decision.

It could easily have backfired, but instead it was the catalyst for England’s comeback and Roy ought to be praised for going for it.

What’s good about this England squad is that Hodgson has an array of alternatives all with distinct styles.

Sturridge and Vardy are both specialists in what they do, and the latter, who looked in fantastic touch, brought an intelligence outside the box that was missing in the first half.

Teams evolve as tournament unfolds

Roy now has decisions to make about his starting line-up, but in the tournaments that I was involved in the team often changed quite dramatically as it went on.

In the 1986 World Cup, for instance, I recall we changed our midfield for a game against Poland from Ray Wilkins and Bryan Robson to me, Peter Reid and Steve Hodge.

Just because his changes against Wales worked, that doesn’t mean the XI that ended the game should start against Slovakia on Monday.

Kane doesn’t seem to be working for now, and Sterling must have been on his last chance.

On the other hand, Wayne Rooney was England’s linchpin and played very well again, so Roy will sit down and ponder what worked and what didn’t before the final group match.

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