Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Is Hoddle still England material?

A blast from the past has been mooted with regards to the vacant England managerial position – Glenn Hoddle.

On the surface, the very idea may seem fanciful but with the likes of former captain Alan Shearer backing him for the job, Hoddle's return is not as remote a possibility as you might think.

Shearer, of course, is still swaying towards favourite Harry Redknapp to take the reins following Fabio Capello's shock departure last month but the FA is not known for its logic when appointing England managers and Shearer admits Hoddle is a realistic contender. Fans of gambling on football will have their own ideas.

His coaching history would also bear this out. Hoddle coached the national side for nearly three years during a period of high positivity and optimism. He inherited Terry Venables's legacy after Euro '96 – a side that was so near yet so far to tasting success – and took them to the 1998 World Cup in France.

England were knocked out of this tournament in the second round by Argentina under controversial circumstances – this was the game which saw David Beckham dismissed for kicking Diego Simeone. The Three Lions were dumped out on penalties and although Hoddle was criticised for not including Paul Gascoigne in the England squad, the majority of the vitriol was reserved for Beckham and Simeone.

You could argue this was a failure of discipline on behalf of Hoddle but the reality is this was more down to the impulsive actions of one reactionary footballer. Shearer concedes that Hoddle was popular with every England player and this ability to unite a squad is precisely what England's team of disparate 'star' individuals needs right now. Those looking at the football betting should bear this in mind.

Only Sir Alf Ramsey and Fabio Capello have a better win rate than Hoddle when managing England and with the pressure off at Euro 2012, such has been the disruption in the wake of Capello's resignation, the former Chelsea, Spurs and Wolves boss could find the circumstances to his liking.

Of course, questions will be asked about the controversial remarks he made about disabled people which led to him being sacked from the England role in 1999 but if Redknapp is not appointed, the FA could do worse than looking towards a former manager.