Hodgson’s role to be much more than England coach as the Golden Generation slink off with a grim and undeserved final fling
As the FA website crashed and the squad was announced the initial reactions were of disbelief at the weakness of the squad. A place for Stewart Downing, Lampard, Gerrard, Parker and Barry in the most one paced midfield England have ever been blessed with. How did it get this bad? Is this really the best 23 man squad we can put together?
Whilst Downing, may have failed to score or even provide an assist in the Premier League this season it would hardly have mattered if Hodgson had picked Adam Johnson or Aaron Lennon. Would either of these two players have worried Laurent Blanc, Vincent Del Bosque or Joachim Low? This is a weak England team in transition with a golden generation having one last undeserved shot at redemption.
Hodgson’s nod to the future with Oxlade-Chamberlain will no doubt come under attack from many who would prefer to see the teenager at the Olympics in Stuart Pearce’s TeamGB. He would be guaranteed three games of 90 minutes and the incredible experience of playing in front of his own fans. Instead he will face the potential wrath of over-expectant England fans and the racial bigotry that may yet blight Euro2012.
For Hodgson though, the choice was clear, he is building for the World Cup in 2014 in Brazil and what many see as his real target Euro2016 in France. In order to do this he wants his future stars to experience the real thing and not the diluted under-23 tournament that the Olympics is. Hodgson’s tenure will not be judged on Euro2012 no matter what The Sun would want you to believe. He will be judged over the full four year period. Judged by the Press on results on the pitch and judged by the FA on the same results and his work at St George’s Park.
England’s shallow pool of players has been cruelly exposed and it is the job of Hodgson, Brooking et al to change this over the next four years just as Germany did after 2012. Change the face of English football, invest in the next generation, say goodbye to the golden generation of celebrity footballers who lost their way.
Believe in Hodgson, believe in the changes that are being made and let’s enjoy what will be a transitional period in English football.