Hodgson set for England job
THE Football Association is confident that it will appoint Roy Hodgson as the new England manager today, subject to him finalising the details of his contract this morning after four hours of successful talks with the FA chairman, David Bernstein, yesterday.
The 64-year-old will return to Wembley this morning to tie up the final details of his contract, although there was no indication last night how long the deal will be for. The West Bromwich Albion manager's agent, Leon Angel, was spotted going through the Wembley Stadium reception yesterday and it is understood that he will accompany Hodgson today to sign off the deal.
As he left Wembley yesterday, Hodgson was photographed with the FA's draft itinerary for Euro 2012 on the seat next to him. He will have little time in which to make some big decisions on the team's schedule before their first game against France on 11 June.
The plan today is for a press conference with Hodgson and Bernstein at Wembley at around 2pm. As of last night the FA's in-house television channel was geared up to broadcast an interview with Hodgson and the FA director of football development, Sir Trevor Brooking, on the governing body's website at the same time.
The conversation between the two men yesterday was described as positive and concentrated primarily upon football rather than the details of length of contract or Hodgson's salary.
Hodgson is expected to see out the last two games of the season at his club before naming the Euro 2012 squad, possibly the day after the final day of the season on 13 May. His back-room staff is anticipated to include Ray Lewington, who he worked with at Fulham.
Another loyal ally of Hodgson, Mike Kelly, could yet come out of retirement to join the England back-room staff. Kelly followed Hodgson to Liverpool from Fulham as first-team coach but dropped out of the game after Hodgson was sacked last year. Kelly, who briefly managed Plymouth Argyle in the late 1970s, is 69. He worked as England goalkeeping coach at the 1986 and 1990 World Cup finals and was Hodgson's assistant when he was manager of Switzerland.
Hodgson will have to make quick decisions on whether he wants to continue with the former manager Fabio Capello's plan to stay at the Marbella Paradise of Sport on 21 May for a few days before flying to England's base in Krakow around 6 June. Hodgson is expected to keep the Under-21s coach, Stuart Pearce, who has been in temporary charge of England, as part of his back-room staff.
In terms of the likely make-up of the squad, the appointment of Hodgson should mean some changes. One of the most likely will be a recall for Peter Crouch, who was frozen out by Capello and has not played for England since the France game in November 2010. As Fulham manager, Hodgson tried to sign the Stoke City striker before he went to Tottenham in 2009, a transfer that escalated into a major dispute between the Fulham chairman, Mohamed al-Fayed, and his Premier League counterpart, Sir Dave Richards.
Hodgson arrived at Wembley Stadium yesterday, driven into the car park just before 3pm and left after 7pm. Angel, who also counts Arsène Wenger, Terry Venables and Gérard Houllier among his other clients, is believed to have come to the meeting separately.
In an interview with television crews yesterday, Harry Redknapp said that he held no "grudges" about being overlooked. He said: "There's no problem. If Roy takes the job I wish him all the best. He's a great guy. I'm sure he'll be a big success. I still think England's got some great players, I really do.
"There's some fantastic players in this country, some young players coming through, some great, experienced players. I'm looking forward to the European Championship. Life couldn't be better, the sun's shining, my health is good, I'm a very lucky man."
It will be the first time the FA has appointed an England manager who has managed an international side before, Switzerland, Finland and the UAE in Hodgson's case.