ALTHOUGH there will be continued discussion between Club England, the body which runs the England national team, and manager Roy Hodgson to investigate what went wrong in Brazil, it has been confirmed there will no formal report produced.
Hodgson is contracted until the end of Euro 2016, and his position is apparently secure, despite England finishing in bottom place in Group D after collecting just one point.
Nevertheless, this has not stopped Hodgson, who landed back in England with his crestfallen players yesterday afternoon, being consistently asked questions on his future. He has not been helped by the news emerging from Natal on Tuesday, shortly after England’s appropriately mediocre farewell to Brazil, courtesy of a 0-0 draw with Costa Rica.
Although the Luis Suarez incident was commanding most of the attention, another significant story emerged from Natal with Italy manager’s Cesare Prandelli’s post-match resignation, following his side’s 1-0 defeat to Uruguay. He explained that the team’s performance in finishing third in their group and thereby being eliminated had fallen well below expectations.
Prandelli was appointed Italy manager in 2010, only two years before Hodgson was appointed England manager. However, Hodgson has denied there are any parallels between their situations as managers of underachieving teams.
“He’s been there a long time,” he said of Prandelli. The England manager underlined his own intentions to carry on when expressing the hope skipper Steven Gerrard and 36 year-old Frank Lampard would not now announce their international retirement, in an official sense at least. He explained that he still wanted to be able to call on them if necessary.
“I’m not asking them to do anything they don’t want to do,” he said. “If the question is ‘could they still play a part?’ then obviously the answer is yes. They probably could, but they are under no pressure whatsoever from me and I will accept whatever decisions they come up with.
“It would be nice if they don’t formally retire because, when players do that, they disappear from England selection. Leave it so there can be dialogue, whereby at any moment in time I could speak to one of them and say: ‘look, do you want to play in this game, are you up for it?’ That’s how I’d really like to see it.”
As for his own future, Hodgson is adamant – he is staying, and he believes he has the support of the players in this respect.
“I told you the other day and I’ve nothing more to add,” he said, when asked if failure to beat Costa Rica and even score against them might have served to change his mind about continuing as manager. “The FA have asked me to continue. They want me to continue. I’m very happy that they want me to continue.”
“I think there is an interesting group of players here to work with,” he added. “I get no feeling whatsoever that any of them will want me to resign. I have no reason to do so. I have no intention to do so. I think I’ve stood up to the criticism, to the comments and that’s as much as I can do. I don’t want to be compared to other people [like Prandelli].
“The reason I’m staying on is that I’m not a quitter,” he added. “I believe in this team and that the FA seriously want me to keep doing this job, as do the players, so therefore I will continue to do it. I’ll try and lead the team to Euro 2016 and try to get some good results.”
Hodgson has interpreted the 0-0 draw with Costa Rica as a good result, given that was secured by a young team on the back of “four days of absolute misery”.
He added: “It’s been very, very difficult for any of us to find anything positive to say or find a smile of someone’s face. But we’ve come here to play against Costa Rica, who are top of the group, and I would defy anyone to question the determination, spirit and desire of the team.”
As for the supporters who gave the England players and managers a surprisingly rousing ovation after Tuesday’s match, Hodgson was appreciative.
“I’m really, really pleased with what the fans did,” he said. “I thought it was a fantastic gesture on their part and showed that they appreciated the fact so many young players were making their debuts yet played with such spirit and determination.”