England show faith in Hodgson

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IOL pic may2 england roy hodgson Associated Press Newly appointed England manager Roy Hodgson poses for a photograph in the tunnel at Wembley Stadium in London.

London - Roy Hodgson was appointed England manager on a four-year contract on Tuesday, ending months of speculation over who would lead the national team to next month's European Championship.

The experienced 64-year-old, who has been in charge of Premier League West Bromwich Albion since February last year, became the 13th permanent post-War England manager after succeeding Italian Fabio Capello.

“This is a very proud day for me, I'm a very happy man to be offered the chance to manage my country and I'm looking forward to the task ahead,” Englishman Hodgson, who the FA said was the unanimous choice of the board, said at a news conference at Wembley.

“Everyone knows it's not an easy one but I'm hoping everyone, the fans and supporters get behind the team.

“It's the team that counts and I will do my very best to make sure they are prepared as well as possible for the tasks that lay ahead.”

Capello left his role as England manager in February, four years after taking over from Steve McClaren, despite a successful Euro 2012 qualifying campaign.

Since then Stuart Pearce, the under-21s coach, had been in temporary charge with Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp the hot favourite to be offered the job.

FA chairperson David Bernstein refused to talk about why Redknapp was overlooked, preferring to trumpet the credentials of Hodgson.

“After putting together a shortlist Roy emerged as the standout candidate,” Bernstein said.

“We met at Wembley yesterday and we quickly agreed that Roy was the right man to guide us to the European Championship and future tournaments.

“I want to make it quite clear we were unanimous in choosing Roy,” Bernstein added. “He is a manager of a vast experience of international and European football, in fact this is the first time the FA has appointed a manager with any previous international experience and this will I'm be a great benefit to him in making the adjustment from club management.

“Roy has outstanding contacts and could walk into any training ground across the world and command respect.”

West Brom confirmed on their website that Hodgson, who replaced now Chelsea caretaker coach Roberto Di Matteo last year, would remain in charge for the final two games of the season, away to Bolton Wanderers and home to Arsenal.

“Roy's appointment as England Manager is obviously disappointing news for the club as we would have liked him to sign a new contract, which was in the process of negotiation, and remain as our head coach,” West Brom chairman Jeremy Peace said in a statement.

“But we understand Roy's desire to take the England job and he will leave us after the Arsenal game on May 13 with our best wishes. We are delighted he will be see the season out with us.”

After a non-descript playing career spent partly in English non-league football, Hodgson embarked on a near 40-year coaching career in Sweden with Halmstad in 1976 and has since become one of the world's most respected coaches.

Plying his trade in Sweden, Switzerland, Italy, England and Denmark he has won eight league titles and coached the national sides of Finland, Switzerland and United Arab Emirates.

Hodgson's best moments in international football came in guiding Switzerland to the 1994 World Cup finals and the 1996 European Championship.

His varied club career included two stints at Inter Milan, Blackburn Rovers, FC Copenhagen and Fulham, who he took to the Europa League final in 2010 - the first European final in their history. However, his biggest club job in England ended in disappointment when he left Liverpool by mutual consent in January, 2011 after just 31 games in charge.

Despite a disappointing stay at Anfield, where he never won over the fans, Hodgson restored his reputation at West Brom, guiding the Midlands club to safety last season and to mid-table respectability this season.

With the European championships, where England will face France, Sweden and co-hosts Ukraine, starting in little more than a month, Hodgson faces a hectic schedule, including selecting his squad and preparing for a June 2 friendly against Belgium at Wembley.

“It's going to be difficult of course but I have some time on my hands to think about it and make the decisions that are necessary,” Hodgson said.

“I've worked in the Premier league for the last five years so the players are pretty well known to me, I've worked with many of them, and I will do as much research as I can between now and the end of the season.” - Reuters