‘Fragile’ Hodgson’s fears for England

Roy Hodgson
Roy Hodgson
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Roy Hodgson began life as a former England manager by making a reluctant final appearance in front of the media and warning his successor that Euro 2016 humiliation could “damage” the players he leaves behind.

Hodgson read a prepared statement to announce his resignation after the embarrassing 2-1 defeat by Iceland, declining to take questions.

But yesterday he shared a stage with FA chief executive Martin Glenn, even though he made it clear he had little interest in airing his views.

“I don’t really know what I’m doing here. I think my statement last night was sufficient,” he said.

“But I was told it was important for everybody I appeared. I suppose that’s partly because people are still smarting from our poor performance and the defeat.

“As you can understand I’m very fragile today. It’s certainly the wrong day for me to be talking about it because the emotions are too raw.”

Hodgson’s appearance was preceded, by a matter of minutes, by a statement from his captain Wayne Rooney, shooting down reports that senior squad members had harboured doubts about the manager’s tactics in France.

Rooney deemed those suggestions “completely untrue” and insisted the dressing room held “absolute faith” in his decisions.

Hodgson spoke positively about the future, arguing that leading England was not the impossible task some believe.

England’s Euro 2016 struggles are unlikely to put clubs off appointing the well-travelled coach. iRENA, the main sports agency behind the boom in the Chinese Super League, say he is sought-after in China.

The FA has quickly turned its attention to finding a successor, with England Under-21s manager Gareth Southgate the overriding early favourite.

Chief executive Glenn said nationality would not be a factor in the new appointment, but Hodgson would be proud to see an Englishman succeed him.

“I don’t have a problem with it,” he said when asked about a foreign successor. “It would be very hypocritical of me to do so, having been a national coach in Switzerland, Finland the UAE. I think I should be the last person to say it’s got to be a national.”