Euro 2012: Roy Hodgson can talk the talk for England

DO you think Roy Hodgson will get pulled up for his pronunciation when he doesn’t roll his Rs properly as he talks about Sunday’s quarter-final with Italy?

Roy Hodgson
Roy Hodgson

DO you think Roy Hodgson will get pulled up for his pronunciation when he doesn’t roll his Rs properly as he talks about Sunday’s quarter-final with Italy?

Or will this intelligent and thoroughly likable man get some credit for guiding this England team through the group stages of the European Championship?

Let’s hope those who sneered at his appointment now feel thoroughly ashamed of themselves.

And let’s forget for a moment about last night’s woeful first-half performance and the fact that, in terms of thrilling football, this group of England players are some way behind the best.

Erm, and also the Ukraine goal that never was.

Because the national team are not only through to the last eight, but they topped what was a difficult group.

And while the players deserve praise for the way they have confounded all the low expectations, it’s the manager who should take the (three) lions’ share of the credit.

Hodgson had two warm-up matches and less than a month to pick a squad and get his ideas over to a team shrouded in controversy, hit by injury and missing one of their best if not their best player, Wayne Rooney, until last night.

However, they now face a very winnable quarter-final against Italy this Friday and, unlike the shambles of two years ago in South Africa, England fans can feel proud of their team again.

Of course, it’s not easy supporting this team.

At 8.14pm GMT last night an entire nation was brought together in a way that only really football these days can.

Because every single Englishman and woman had the exact same thought, which was: “I bet Andy Carroll would have buried that chance.”

But the man with the worst haircut, or lack of, in football was on the substitutes bench, while the man with the least convincing hair transplant watched the ball slip off his wig and past the post from eight yards in front of goal.

Rooney, for it was he, should have buried the chance that came to him on the 27th minute. The decision to gamble on his fitness looked a bad one when he passed up that great opportunity and maybe other managers would have kept him in the dressing room at half-time.

But Hodgson held his nerve and was rewarded with a quick second-half goal from the Manchester United man. He got that one right.

And playing Carroll against Sweden was bang on as well. Plus, he was correct to be cautious in the opener against France. The guy knows what he’s doing.

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