England's Euro 2016 humiliation took another farcical turn on Tuesday when departing manager Roy Hodgson insisted he did not need to explain the team’s failure and the man tasked with hiring his replacement admitted: “I am not a football expert.”
Less than 24 hours after tendering his resignation in the wake of a 2-1 defeat to minnows Iceland, Hodgson reluctantly attended a media conference where he argued that England had played well in their three group games, only to surprise him with a meek surrender against the smallest nation ever to reach a major international tournament.
The 69-year-old, whose £3.5m-a-year contract was due to expire this summer, said poor finishing had been his only concern before the game that ended his four-year tenure and denied suggestions that senior players had lost faith in him.
Football Association chairman Martin Glenn, meanwhile, praised the progress made under Hodgson but conceded that England had proven consistently “brittle” at major tournaments and refused to rule out hiring a foreign coach.
"I don't know what I'm doing here"
Hodgson had initially declined to join Glenn in addressing reporters at England’s Chantilly base for one last time but changed his mind because, he said, he did not want to be seen to be “worried or afraid”. Yet he did not hide his disdain for the process.
“I don’t know what I’m doing here,” he said. “I don’t think it’s necessary. I suppose it’s because people are smarting from the defeat that saw us leave the tournament. I suppose someone has to stand and take the slings and arrows that come with it.
“My emotions are obvious ones. I am really disappointed. I didn’t see the defeat coming.
"Nothing in the first three games gave me any indication that we would play as poorly as we did. I don’t think the performances had given me any real cause for concern, other than us not taking our chances.
"We go home as losers and retain that wretched record of losing a tournament in the knockout stages.”
"I'm not a football expert"
Glenn, the former United Biscuits, Birdseye and Walkers Crisps boss who was hired by the FA last year, caused raised eyebrows by saying “I’m not a football expert” as he attempted to justify his claim that England had made progress under Hodgson.
He said he, FA technical director Dan Ashworth and vice-chairman David Gill would lead the search for Hodgson’s successor.
England Under-21 boss Gareth Southgate and former Three Lions manager Glenn Hoddle are among the early favourites but Glenn said they may recruit from overseas.
“I am absolutely not ruling one out [a foreign coach],” he said. “It’ll be the best person for the job. We will have the best people to take this exciting group of players further forward.”