WEST BROM’S Roy Hodgson is poised to take charge of England for this summer’s European Championship after the Football Association confirmed it had opened talks with the 64-year-old.
City A.M. revealed last month that FA chiefs had significantly cooled their interest in Tottenham’s Harry Redknapp, the initial favourite for the role, and were considering appointing Hodgson.
FA chairman David Bernstein began negotiations with former Liverpool, Fulham, Inter Milan and Switzerland manager Hodgson yesterday and confirmed that there had been no approach to Redknapp or any other candidate.
The urgency of appointing a permanent successor to Fabio Capello was revealed last week when caretaker manager Stuart Pearce let slip that plans were in place to name England’s Euro 2012 squad by Thursday 10 May.
An FA statement read: “West Bromwich Albion have today granted permission for the FA to speak with Roy Hodgson regarding the position of England manager. This follows an approach from FA chairman David Bernstein to West Bromwich Albion chairman Jeremy Peace.”
Bernstein confirmed he had begun discussions with Hodgson, adding: “Roy is the only manager we have approached and we remain on course to make an appointment within the timescale we set-out soon after Fabio Capello’s departure. Further conversations will now take place with Roy and my Club England colleagues before any further announcements can be made.”
Hodgson has publicly confirmed his interest in the England job and, with his contract ending in the summer, would not cost the FA anything in compensation, paving the way for a deal to be completed quickly. It is thought that further talks will take place today, with an appointment possible this week. He has said of the job: “If ever the people in charge decided that I was the man they wanted then I would be delighted to do it.”
Redknapp was installed as hot favourite for the job in March, when he was cleared of tax evasion on the same day that Capello quit in protest at the FA’s decision to strip John Terry of the captaincy against the Italian’s will.
But key powerbrokers within the FA began to harbour doubts about his suitability, concerns not thought to be connected to an unfortunate decline in Tottenham’s form. Redknapp, meanwhile, insisted he would not talk to the FA until the end of the season.
Former England manager Glenn Hoddle, who was sacked in 1999 after making controversial comments about the disabled, also stated his interest and was discussed as a potential candidate by the FA, it is understood.
Pearce, who is currently juggling roles as England Under-21 manager and coach of Team GB at London 2012, took charge for England’s friendly against Holland in February and made plain his eagerness to stay in charge for Euro 2012.
Hodgson’s stock has risen this season, leading West Brom to 10th in the Premier League, just three points behind Liverpool, who discarded Hodgson last season after just six months at Anfield.
In a globe-trotting career that has also taken in stints with Finland, the United Arab Emirates and Udinese, he guided Switzerland to their first major tournament for almost 30 years.
4 Defeats in 30 qualifiers Hodgson suffered with Finland, Switzerland and UAE
TIMELINE: ROY’S CAREER
■ Has an unremarkable playing career as a defender, which peaks at Crystal Palace and also takes in Maidstone
■ Begins managerial career at Swedish team Halmstad, winning to tiltes from 1976 to 1980
■ Had a spell at Bristol City
■ In 1983 he joins Orebro, before winning five titles and two Swedish cups at Malmo
■ Moves to Neuchatel Xamax in Switzerland, then steps up to the national team job and qualifies for both World Cup ’94 and Euro ’96
■ Rewarded with the Inter Milan job, but fired after just under two seasons
■ Takes over at Blackburn. Guides his new team to Uefa Cup qualification yet was sacked following a disastrous start to the 1998-99 season
■ Between 1999 and 2007 he jumps from jobs at Grasshopper, Copenhagen, Udinese, the United Arab Emirates, Norwegian side Viking FK, and the Finnish national team
■ At the end of 2007 takes over at Fulham, leading the team to a remarkable escape from relegation and, in 2010, to a Europa League final
■ In 2010 joins Liverpool yet lasts only six months after failing to turn around the club’s fortunes
■ In 2011 joins West Brom