Daniel Taylor – 6 March 2015
Roy Hodgson wants to remain as manager until the next World Cup if England do enough in next year’s European Championship to demonstrate to his employers at the Football Association that he should be kept on for a fourth tournament.
Hodgson’s contract expires after Euro 2016 in France and he will be almost 71 by the time Russia hosts the World Cup two years later, but the oldest man to hold the job has already informed the FA he would ideally like to continue until 2018 and sees his position as the pinnacle of his profession. Hodgson believes he can emulate Giovanni Trapattoni, one of the managers he admires the most, by working into his 70s and is driven by the thought of trying to make up for the disappointment of the last World Cup, when England went out at the group stage for the first time since 1958 and were eliminated after only six days.
The decision rests on how England do in France now their qualification is all but guaranteed and Hodgson has not pushed the matter at a time when the FA is appointing a new chief executive and the manager’s priority is ensuring the team’s preparations are right for next year.
He is, however, keen to stay on and if his deal is extended to take in Russia that would make him the longest-serving England manager since Bobby Robson’s eight-year tenure from 1982 to 1990. Ron Greenwood and Sven-Goran Eriksson both had five years in the job and, before Robson, only Sir Alf Ramsey and Walter Winterbottom have held the position for longer.
Hodgson has already been backed by the FA by the mere fact the organisation immediately came out at the end of the last World Cup to say it would continue with him as manager without any real discussions about terminating his contract early and looking for a replacement.
The four men running Club England who appointed Hodgson as Fabio Capello’s successor shortly before Euro 2012 – David Bernstein, Sir Trevor Brooking, Alex Horne and Adrian Bevington – have left their positions and there is a new regime led by the chairman, Greg Dyke, and the technical director, Dan Ashworth. Hodgson is well regarded behind the scenes but there is also an acceptance on Dyke’s part that the manager was fortunate in the modern industry to keep his job after Brazil.
Hodgson is not just planning for next year’s tournament but also trying to bring through a group of young players who will potentially be there in Russia, with Ross Barkley, Luke Shaw, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Daniel Sturridge uppermost in his thoughts.
He is encouraged by the development of John Stones and Raheem Sterling and there is another group who he believes are capable of doing well at the highest level. Harry Kane, fitness permitting, is guaranteed a place in his squad for the qualifying match against Lithuania at Wembley on 27 March, followed by the friendly against Italy in Turin four days later, but Hodgson is also excited by the improvement of Saido Berahino, Danny Ings, Jordon Ibe and several others, including Alex Pritchard, on loan from Tottenham Hotspur to Brentford.