Roy Hodgson and England: Views from Europe

By Frank KeoghBBC Sport

Roy Hodgson's experience over 36 years helped put him in prime position for the England manager's job.

The 64-year-old West Brom boss has coached 18 sides in eight different countries, mainly in Europe.

So, how is he viewed across the continent?

Here we talk to former players and a top pundit to canvas opinion from four of his former haunts - Sweden, Switzerland, Finland and Italy.


Overview: Two league titles with Halmstad. Five with Malmo.

Hodgson topped the table five years running during his time with Malmo in the late 1980s, and it was his dedication and enthusiasm which marked him out.

"His commitment in training was unbelievable, taking part and showing what to do in the sessions. If you show commitment, you win the locker room and the team," says former Swedish captain Patrik Andersson,who played under him at Malmo.

He said some of the club foundations laid by Hodgson helped the Swedish national side, which went on to finish third at the 1994 World Cup.

"His passion about the game was important to get the team together. Getting along with the players was one of his strengths," said Andersson, who was capped 96 times.

"He was always encouraging and always in front of the team, which is very important. He took the pressure from the players."

Andersson, who played for Blackburn in the 1992-93 season, said he could see why England would turn to his former Malmo boss, but he faces a tricky challenge in a Euro 2012 group alongside Sweden, France and Ukraine.

"I'm not surprised because he has been on the international scene since the late 80s and has done well with Fulham and West Brom. He knows the English scene, the pressure and the players and he has developed his leadership over the years," said the former defender.

"France, Sweden and England can all beat each other if they have a good day, so for me it's an open group.

"He has a great reputation here, but we have played so many games against each other, there will be no surprises."


Overview: Guided national side to last 16 of the 1994 World Cup finals and secured their qualification for Euro 96.

Hodgson took his first international post in 1992 after impressing in the country's domestic competition with Neuchatel Xamax.

"We didn't qualify for a World Cup for nearly 30 years and he did that in 1994. He put Swiss football on the map and thereon is history," said former Swiss defender Ramon Vega.

The ex-Tottenham centre-back said his Swiss experience will help Hodgson with England, whose only major tournament victory remains the 1966 World Cup.

"In what way is it different to the Swiss job? What have the FA and the England team achieved since 1966?" he said.

"He's the only English manager at the moment proven to do something internationally and he's done it in the Premier League and he's a true English gentleman on top of that.

"He's an English manager who had the courage to go abroad, learn the language and culture and come back and prove himself as well."

Vega, who played 23 times for his country, believes Hodgson can handle the pressure from fans and the media.

"The beauty about this is he's managed Inter Milan, where there are major stars with major egos, and enormous pressure. England has the pressure too but the image of the England national team is not the best.

"I think what is needed now is to go back to basics and Roy Hodgson fits the bill to do that. He will focus on the sports side and that's what's needed."


Overview: Uefa Cup runner-up in 1997 during first of two spells at Inter Milan. Later had four months in charge at Udinese.

Hodgson is remembered in Italy as a competent, if unspectacular, coach.

"He was at Inter at a time when they were free-spending and under-achieving," says Italian football expert Gabriele Marcotti.external-link

"He was one of a long line of managers who came in and tried to fix it but wasn't able to, probably because the club itself was dysfunctional. He wasn't great, but he wasn't terrible.

"Some people still talk about his decision to sell Roberto Carlos, who went on to become one of the best left-backs in the world, but it's easy to pick out errors of judgement like that and it may not have been his decision alone."

In his first spell at Inter, the side lost to German club Schalke on penalties in the Uefa Cup final. He returned two years later for a short stint as technical director.

"He was a good man-manager and a safe pair of hands, which is why he came back to Inter for a second time in a crisis situation," said Marcotti.

"People liked him, he was a gentleman but he wasn't considered a huge loss to Italian football.

"Personally, my reservations would be about his ability to judge players from a distance. At Fulham, with the exception of Brede Hangeland, they were mainly players he'd inherited. It was almost like they did well despite his signings."


Overview: Finland failed by just three points to qualify for Euro 2008, which would have been their first appearance at a major tournament.

Attention to detail and organisation were hallmarks of his time in charge, said former striker Jonatan Johansson.

"He rejuvenated my career. I was in and out of the team and under him, I mostly started," he said.

"We had a very hard group with Portugal and Poland. He came and organised the team and we had a really good campaign under him. It's the closest we have been to qualifying for a tournament.

"He knows football, how to win games and pick up points. We had a limited squad, but he did a fantastic job.

"He's quite thorough, a very hands-on manager. Everybody has to defend as a team, even the strikers. I think we were the team with the fewest goals conceded in the qualifiers. With a team like England, I'm sure he's going to make them very hard to beat."

Johansson, who was capped 105 times and played for British clubs including Rangers and Charlton, said Hodgson was meticulous in his preparation.

"He was very good at analysing the opposition and knowing how to play against them. That will be a massive strength, particularly now as there is not much time to the Euros," said Johansson, who will manage the reserve side at Scottish club Greenock Morton next season.

"There was a lot of video analysis and going through strengths and weaknesses. He's very good at picking the right players in the right positions and making it work.

"He's strong and disciplined. He was very fair to everybody and has a good presence about him - someone you naturally respect. He's pretty calm, composed, intelligent and well spoken but I have seen him shout and get angry. He can be quite fiery.

"When I went on the pitch I knew what he wanted me to do and that always gives players confidence."

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