Roy Hodgson not surprised to be given England manager's job

By Phil McNultyChief football writer, BBC Sport

Roy Hodgson says he was not surprised to get the Football Association's call to become the new England manager - despite widespread expectations that Harry Redknapp would succeed Fabio Capello.

FA chairman David Bernstein revealed the four-man selection committee made the decision to move for the West Brom boss a month ago but only announced their formal approach on Sunday.

Tottenham manager Redknapp was not contacted about the job and the formalities were completed on Hodgson's four-year contract at Wembley on Tuesday, with the 64-year-old insisting his track record always made him a realistic contender to take the job.

He said: "Given my CV, I had the right to hope and harbour the wish that the FA, after going through the process, would choose me. I didn't expect though.

"I've never expected but always hoped - nobody should expect. I wouldn't say I was particularly surprised. I was always hoping the choice would be made and would work in my favour.

"It's wrong to 'expect' to be approached. Whenever the England job has been mentioned and I've been asked my feelings I've always said it is up to the FA to take the time needed to go through the process."

Meanwhile, Hodgson will attempt to arrange face-to-face talks with former captains John Terry and Rio Ferdinand before deciding whether they will figure in his Euro 2012 plans.

Terry has denied a criminal charge of racially abusing Ferdinand's younger brother Anton in a Premier League game against QPR at Loftus Road in October - and Hodgson admitted resolving the situation was an early priority.

He said: "I'll have to get in touch with these two men to try and speak to them personally, hopefully face to face, to find out where they are in this situation. I actually want to speak to as many senior players as I possibly can. Until such time as I have spoken to John and Rio, it would be wrong of me to start commenting."

Hodgson refused to comment on the Football FA's decision to take the captaincy off Terry as a result of the allegations, which ultimately led to Capello's decision to resign in February.

He admitted he would have to gain the backing of the players, including some who had publicly stated their backing for Redknapp like Wayne Rooney and Ferdinand.

But Hodgson, who has managed 18 teams - including three national sides - during a 36-year coaching career, said he was ready to get their support.

"Every coach has got to win over the players. It's not the first time I've stepped into a group I don't know but my CV suggests I've succeeded fairly well with that," said the former Inter Milan, Fulham and Liverpool manager.

The new England boss also admitted he would be "bitterly disappointed" if he failed to guide the national team out of the group stages at Euro 2012.

He will formally take charge after seeing out West Bromwich Albion's final two games of the Premier League season.

And despite the lack of preparation time - plus a tough England group containing France, Sweden and co-hosts Ukraine - Hodgson sent out an optimistic message as he prepares his plans for the summer showpiece.

He said: "It's one of the hardest [groups]. The European Championships are tough, though, and there are no easy groups.

"When the Football Association asked me to be England manager no-one said it would be an easy job and I would be able to look forward to some sunny, pleasant days ahead. I have got 40 days and 40 nights before the start of Euro 2012 and I'm going to be working long hours.

"We go into tournaments to win them, we're a major football nation. It's never going to be easy and it's a little more difficult because the man who qualified the team left and I came in at a late stage.

"It's important everyone gets behind the team."

Hodgson also revealed he had received a congratulatory voicemail from Redknapp.

"We've been friends for years and he wouldn't welcome sympathy," added Hodgson. "There may be an empathy though, certainly.

"I hope we will remain friends. We've unwittingly become rivals but it won't affect our relationship. He's dealt with it well in all his interviews and I appreciate it."

Hodgson also insisted his family and close associates made no attempt to dissuade him from taking the England job, despite the enormous pressures involved.

He said: "No - no-one tried to talk me out of it. I realise what I'm getting into. I'm not naïve. I have been in football a long while and know we're dealing with enormous expectations."

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