Roy Hodgson and England: Papering Over The Cracks of Mediocrity

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October 21, 2012 by Hamilton Fan

They say football is a results business. On that basis, Roy Hodgson has had a very good start to his England career. But when you look deeper in to Hodgson’s tenure you see the same problems that have plagued the English national side for a long time and have ultimately cost them dearly when it comes to competing in major tournaments.

It may seem odd to criticise a man who, bar from losing to Italy on penalties in the European Championships, is unbeaten as England Head Coach. However his employers, The Football Association, have done a lot of talking recently about the long-term health of the English game. St George’s Park National Football Centre was opened last week and is the place they hope to breed the next generation of football coaches and players. Not just that, but they also want to help mould a new type of English footballer. A more tactically aware, technically superior English player that suits the modern game of possession football. An approach welcomed by most in the game and the on-looking public too.

Hodgson makes sure all the players are ready to clear the ball relentlessly from deep inside their own half

The point to be made here though is that it is all well and good to make these changes at the bottom of the footballing pyramid, but what about at the top of it? Roy Hodgson’s beliefs on football are in stark contrast to the message the FA wants to get across. Wednesday nights mediocre performance was just another example of this. His team selection showed his ambitions from the off. James Milner and Tom Cleverley preferred over the likes of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Adam Johnson and Aaron Lennon on the flanks of midfield highlighted his defensive mindset. Although a point away at Poland will not be deemed a failure, it is the performance that should worry fans. As was seen in the Euro’s, England failed to keep the ball well enough and played with a far too deep defensive line, allowing the opposition on to them.

At present it seems that England are just managing to do enough to get by under Roy Hodgson’s defensive style of play. Unfortunately he has always been known to get his sides to play this type of football, and although it may just get England through to the World Cup in Brazil in 2014, the long-term prospects of the national side under Roy Hodgson do not look too promising unless he drastically changes his approach to the game.

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