NEW England manager Roy Hodgson is Mr Establishment.
He is one of the game’s good guys – decent, honest and pretty much everything you would want in terms of someone suitable to manage our national side.
But is he inspirational?
When asked about his appointment over the last few days, my reply has always been “underwhelmed.”
Roy has an incredible CV, but his strength – certainly in the latter part of his career – has been in turning decent enough players into a good unit.
You would probably find it hard to name more than a couple of his Fulham team who reached the Europa League final in 2010, which illustrates my point.
He is very capable, but is there anything to suggest he is going to take England forward?
I am sure the team will be well organised and Roy will do everything the right way, but I feel the most important thing for an England manager to do these days is to get the players enjoying themselves when they are wearing the national colours.
They are under such intense pressure week in and week out in the Premier League and the Champions League that going to play for their country is a bit of a break for them – and they need to enjoy it.
That’s where I think Fabio Capello got it wrong, particularly in the World Cup in South Africa where he had everyone locked away ‘boot camp’ style and it was like being in prison.
Players don’t have that mentality these days. They want to be playing on their Playstations and iPads – they are like big kids in a way – and they need to be excited and happy.
Nobody does that better, in my opinion, than Harry Redknapp and he would have been my choice for the job, no doubt whatsoever.
Roy Hodgson will tick a massive amount of boxes for the Football Association and I notice Sepp Blatter has already welcomed him into the international fold again, proving my theory on an establishment appointment.
We have good players at top level, but I think a fresh start would have been good and I’m not sure we are going to entirely get it with Roy.
Everyone must support him, of course, because we want to go on and have a good European Championships this summer.
We wish Roy all the best, but my choice would have been Redknapp.
Just a footnote, I played for the Hong Kong national team against Roy Hodgson’s Switzerland a good few years back.
We drew 0-0 and then beat them on penalties (and I scored one of them!).
I never took many penalties with Town, but one I remember was against Leeds United and THEY ended up scoring from it!
Mervyn Day blocked my spot kick, the full-back cleared it and Ian Baird went up the other end and scored to put us 1-0 down, but we ended up winning 3-1 so it didn’t turn out too bad.
I RECKON Liverpool will win the FA Cup tomorrow.
Opponents Chelsea seem to have other things on their mind – namely the Champions League final.
That could well make it hard for them to ‘get up’ for Wembley, as evidenced by their 2-0 home defeat to Newcastle.
Whereas Liverpool can turn what has been a poor Premier League campaign for them into a decent season by securing a second trophy (to add to the Carling Cup).
THE Premier League title race is poised for an exciting finale.
After Manchester City’s 1-0 win over United the other night, it’s all set up for the last two matches.
I hear that Chris Smalling has been getting it in the neck for losing his marker, Vincent Kompany, who scored the only goal.
That’s what it’s like at the top of the football tree – you have to get everything right to succeed.
You can do 99.9% of things right and then just make one mistake which ends up costing you, just like Smalling did.
People might think it’s unfair to point to things like that when all sorts happens over a season, but that’s the way football is.
A simple lapse in concentration for a split second cost United the goal and, in terms of the title race, City were right back in business. Having said that, I am not sure they have the title in the bag at all – even though I am desperate for them to win it because I backed them in the early part of the campaign.
It will be very different for them to win at Newcastle this weekend.
Newcastle had a fantastic victory at Chelsea on Wednesday night and they will want to round off their home season in style, especially with Papiss Cisse in such fantastic form.
Every goal he scores seems to be out of this world, and I can’t think of a better January transfer window signing than him in this season or any other.
It’s funny how Demba Ba was the ‘Toast of the Toon’ earlier in the season and now he’s just about forgotten about.