July 25 2014 Latest news:
by Paddy Davitt
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
What will Roy Hodgson’s surprise appointment as England manager mean for Norwich City’s Grant Holt and John Ruddy?
Roy Hodgson’s England appointment smacks of fresh conservatism from the FA.
I doubt the likes of Grant Holt or John Ruddy will need to radically alter their summer plans upon confirmation of the urbane 64-year-old’s elevation to what he described yesterday as the ‘pinnacle’ of his profession.
Hodgson’s record at home and abroad is worthy of respect. The departing West Brom boss boasts an envious longevity in the game and a solid if unspectacular track record of bringing stability to clubs and international teams with modest resources. His short-lived spell at Liverpool would surely remain a source of private angst.
FA chairman David Bernstein and the rest of the Club England board have arrived at a brave decision. Harry Redknapp’s candidature had the backing of vast swathes of the press and public.
Hodgson and the FA hierarchy know the intense public scrutiny has already started from the moment he emerged as the only name on a shortlist swiftly reduced to one. Hodgson’s remit may also include helping construct a lasting edifice for the English game with the new Burton base at St George’s Park, but he will be judged as much on England’s European Championship campaign this summer.
He deserves a chance. But it seems highly unlikely any of Paul Lambert’s Norwich squad will get the same between now and then.
Hodgson has precisely 40 days until England’s opening match of the tournament against France in Donetsk on June 11. The first opportunity to work with his new charges comes at a Spanish training camp on May 21 – five days before an opening friendly in Norway.
The FA’s desire to parachute a figurehead into the job at such a late stage in the planning process is a prohibitive barrier to major experimentation. Hodgson is portrayed as a cautious, regimented manager, but the situation he inherits almost compels him to adopt the tried and trusted methodology bequeathed him by Fabio Capello.
Ruddy’s prospects of being on the plane this summer may have receded further, given Hodgson only recently backed calls for his Baggies’ keeper Ben Foster to end a premature England international exile.
“The way Ben has played the last few weeks, he’s got to be a major candidate for one of the three (England) goalkeeping positions,” said Hodgson, last month.
“It’s not for me to talk to Ben about England. I like to take a very strong and personal interest in matters where the player and I have a common interest. But, if ever he came to me and asked for my advice, I’d be happy to give it.”
One can expect that conversation to take place sometime between now and Donetsk. The rest will then be up to Foster.
Likewise, Holt may find another of ‘Hodgson’s men’ blocking his path to a fairytale England call up – in addition to the likes of the suspended Wayne Rooney, who Hodgson confirmed yesterday will be in his squad.
Bobby Zamora earned his first senior England honours under the new manager’s stewardship after a fruitful spell at Fulham which saw the Cottagers reach the 2010 Europa League final.
The 31-year-old’s contribution to QPR’s Premier League relegation fight this season may be dwarfed by Holt’s role in the Canaries’ survival, but few would bet against Zamora making the trip. Certainly at Holt’s expense. Continuity seems the byword underpinning this whole process.