In a rather surprising move, England's Football Association has decided to approach only one candidate over the vacant England senior national soccer team post which was left open after Italian Fabio Capello decided to resign prematurely from the post following differences with the FA over the sacking of his captain John Terry over racial allegations.
The lone candidate that the FA has settled on is not the overwhelming candidate as billed by the popular media in England and the world, Harry Redknapp. It is dark horse Roy Hodgson, the much travelled Englishman.
The FA says that they have decided to speak to only one candidate,probably to avoid confusion and to avoid a complicated process that would delay the appointment, which Beezsports understands the FA prefers to be finalised within a week from now on.
FA chairman David Bernstein told the English media:
"Roy is the only manager we have approached and we remain on course to make an appointment within the timescale we set out."
West Brom, Hodgson's current employers were approached on Saturday and it is understood that West Brom gave the FA a go ahead to speak to Hodgson.
The FA wasted no time. On Monday, a four-man panel met Hodgson at Wembley for about four hours of interview and possible contract negotiations and the FA revealed that an announcement is due to be made on Tuesday, a mere 24 hours after meeting Hodgson.
But why Hodgson and not the overwhelming favourite Harry?
There are several factors:
- Hodgson has a better international coaching track-record and profile than his English counterpart Redknapp. Roy has national team coaching experience, having coached national teams of Switzerland, Finland and the United Arab Emirates. Apart from coaching English teams like Fulham and Liverpool recently, Roy has coached Inter Milan of Italy's Serie A twice , and has also had stints in Sweden. In short, Hodgson has coached in six countries, something which the popular media in England conveniently chose to forgot when installing Redknapp as the overwhelming favourite.
- The FA seems to also think that Roy is more open to providing leadership when it comes to football development over a longer period than Harry. Of particular importance and interest to the FA is the management of its National Football Centre based in Burton, whose main function is to serve as a centre of excellence for football coaching. There are strong perceptions within the FA that Hodgson is more suited to championing that project with passion and enthusiasm than Redknapp would.
Within a matter of hours, Hodgson could be announced as the long term successor of Capello. He is expected to be given a long term deal that could see him in charge of England up until the 2016 European.
Depending on how he fares at the helm in a difficult job of coaching England, Hodgson might find himself in charge for about four tournaments, including two European Championships, beginning with the forth-coming one to be co-hosted by Poland and Ukraine during the European off-season.
The 2014 Fifa World Cup in Brazil will follow two years later, then another European Championship in 2016. In all likelihood success between 2012 and 2016 will earn Hodgson a contract extension to the 2018 World Cup.