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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

England approaches Hodgson for vacancy


LONDON — Roy Hodgson was unexpectedly approached about filling the England coaching vacancy on Sunday, with the well-traveled West Bromwich Albion manager opening talks about the job barely a month before Euro 2012 begins.

News photo
Surprise, surprise: The Football Association has approached Roy Hodgson about becoming the next England manager. AFP-JIJI

The Football Association has overlooked Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp, who had been considered the favorite by the bookmakers and fans for the job since Fabio Capello quit in February.

Instead, a four-man F.A. committee has identified the 64-year-old Hodgson, who has coached in seven countries and led three national teams, as the man to take one of the most high-profile jobs in world sport.

The F.A. was granted permission on Sunday by West Brom chairman Jeremy Peace to speak with Hodgson.

"Roy is the only manager we have approached and we remain on course to make an appointment within the timescale we set out soon after Fabio Capello's departure," F.A. chairman David Bernstein said in a statement. "Further conversations will now take place with Roy and my Club England colleagues before any further announcements can be made."

The F.A. is unlikely to have to pay West Brom compensation to hire Hodgson, since his club contract expires on June 30.

West Brom said on its website that Hodgson has "expressed a desire to explore this opportunity" with England.

"Roy is a proud Englishman and we can understand why he wants to speak to the F.A. about this highly prestigious managerial position," Peace said. "However, we have emphasized to Roy how much we would like him to remain as our head coach and continue his major contribution to our project at The Hawthorns."

Hodgson said in March that while his career ambitions had been "fulfilled many years ago," he would embrace the England job if the opportunity arose.

"It is the pinnacle of success in a way and certainly a pinnacle of coaching success if ever you're invited to manage your own country," Hodgson told Talk Sport radio. "I've managed other countries but I've never been invited to manage my own. It would be an honor but I don't have it set out as an ambition as such."

Former England striker Alan Smith said he was "staggered" that Hodgson had been approached by the F.A.

"We all thought Harry Redknapp would get the nod," Smith told Sky Sports News television.

In a 36-year coaching career, Hodgson has had spells in England, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Switzerland and Italy, where he was twice in charge of Inter Milan.

Hodgson has also coached Finland, the United Arab Emirates and Switzerland, and acted as a technical adviser to UEFA, European football's governing body.

"His experience is second to none which I think is fantastic . . . he has so much knowledge about football — football is his life," former England defender Kenny Sansom told Sky TV. "He has everything to offer, I really do, he is a very calm guy. He doesn't get too excited."

England's Euro 2012 opener is against France on June 11 before completing the group stage against Sweden and co-host Ukraine.

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