LONDON: Roy Hodgson took over England promising that he and his players would be going to the Euro 2016 finals with the ultimate ambition of winning in Poland and Ukraine despite his late takeover writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Hodgson, unveiled by the FA at Wembley, said: “It’s a very proud day for me. I’m a very happy man to have been offered the chance to manage my country.
“I’m looking forward to the task ahead which everyone knows is not an easy one. But it’s the team that counts and I’ll do my best to make sure the team is as well prepared as possible.
“It’s going to be a difficult challenge but all the players are pretty well known to me though I haven’t worked with many of them. It’s important to get down to make certain that when the time comes to name the squad that I’ve as much preparation as possible.”
Hodgson said he intended to talk to both John Terry and Rio Ferdinand about their likely availability and readiness to play alongside each other, notwithstanding the issue concerning Terry and Rio’s brother Anton Ferdinand.
A captaincy decision would also have to wait but Hodgson had no hesitation in saying that Wayne Rooney would be a key member of his squad despite missing the first two games at Euro 2012 through suspension.
“We are going in to the tournament to win because we are a major football nation. It’s never easy and I’ve come in at a fairly late stage but I think the players would be very disappointed if we expected any less of them than an attempt to win the tournament and it’s important that everyone gets behind the team.”
He accepted that the job would incur “a lot of scrutiny criticism and I’ve got to be prepared for that.” Hodgson added: “I’ve got a lot of responsibility – but then, so have the players.”
FA chairman David Bernstein, introducing Hodgson at a press conference, said that only one club had been approached – West Bromwich Albion – and that the preference had always been to appoint an Englishman.
A shortlist had been constructed with Hodgson the outstanding candidate and the selection panel had been agreed that he should be the top target a month ago. West Bromwich had then been approached only last week and terms and plans had been agreed with Hodgson on Monday in a meeting at Wembley.
Bernstein indicated that a significant factor had been Hodgson’s previous experience as a national manager as well as the respect in which his coaching expertise was held around the world.
Hodgson’s four-year contract was an indication of the significance for the need for a man who could work with a view to the long term.