England's performance in Brazil has been their worst at a World Cup finals tournament since 1958. The team were eliminated from the group stage with a game to spare after losses to Italy and Uruguay, but FA Chairman Greg Dyke has already declared that manager Roy Hodgson will remain in charge of the Three Lions for at least the next two years.
It is a strong showing of faith by the FA and is a decision that has been backed by senior England players including Steven Gerrard, Wayne Rooney and Joe Hart, who have announced that the squad is still fully behind the manager despite the unexpectedly early World Cup exit.
But following the disappointment in Brazil, former England manager Sven Goran Eriksson claims Hodgson would have been sacked if he were not English. In a recent interview, the Swede said, "I know for sure, if that had been me, I would have been sacked at once. If [Hodgson] were foreign, he would be sacked." Eriksson also questioned why the expectations surrounding the national team should be so low when he feels little has changed since his five year spell in charge, because "England still has a very, very good team."
Eriksson is correct in his assessment that England do have very some good players, but over the last couple of years it clearly hasn't been working and now is the right time for England to dispense with Roy Hodgson and put their faith in someone new.
Football is a results driven business and Hodgson has failed to deliver at two international tournaments. That is not to say that England should have won either, but the level of performance was far too inferior for a team that prides itself on being among football's elite nations. Given the nature of his succession to Fabio Capello just weeks before Euro 2012 was due to start, Hodgson could be granted a free pass for the failings in Poland/Ukraine. However, the performance against Italy in the quarter final was poor beyond measure and must not be brushed aside.
Following that, qualification for the 2014 World Cup was in doubt until the very of end of the campaign despite a relatively straightforward group, while the results at the finals tournament this month speak for themselves. Hodgson set himself up for a fall before the competition had even started by preaching about his team's excellent preparation, that nothing could be done any better and that there would be no excuses for failure. But England were still beaten and the manager could offer no better explanation than simply "it hasn't worked for us", while suggesting that his team had actually done enough to deserve something out of both games. He said there could be no excuses, which in itself sounds like an excuse and a poor one at that.
Wayne Rooney has suggested that England have come a long way in the last two years, but the results haven't improved and in that sense Hodgson's reign to date just hasn't proved he deserves another two years in the job.
The period immediately after any major international tournament is the perfect time to implement change. England have a whole new generation of young, talented and hungry players. The likes of Luke Shaw, Ross Barkley, Raheem Sterling and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, but to name a few, will be the base of England's team for years to come and it would be of greater benefit to them if there was a new manager and fresh start now, at the start of their journey.
Building a team around a talented generation who will grow together is the key to success at international level. A notable example in recent years is that of Germany, whose 2009 under-21 team have formed the spine of the senior side ever since. The stable position of manager Joachim Low has also helped the team develop. Unfortunately for Hodgson, simply because of his advanced years, he couldn't now see a new project like that through to completion.
Also, Hodgson already seems overly keen to stick with some of the ageing players that have let England down on too many occasions. He has far too much faith in Steven Gerrard, who looked more than ready to hang up his international boots after this World Cup.
The player's performance in the tournament, particularly in the second game against Uruguay, would suggest that can't come soon enough. Beyond his underachieving performances on the pitch, the Liverpool skipper has also failed to lead England in the same rip-roaring manner that he has led his club side for years and his captaincy has hardly produced the same iconic performances as the likes of Bobby Moore, Terry Butcher and David Beckham in the past. Despite that, Hodgson has already urged Gerrard not to give up on his international career and remain as captain. Though at 34 years of age it doesn't seem the best plan for the future.
Roy Hodgson is an exceptional football coach with a highly respected reputation and record, but he has done as much as he can for England and things are unlikely to improve with him in charge. The results haven't been good enough and with a new generation ready to step up and lead the country for years to come, the time is surely right for a new man to take charge. Unfortunately, the FA just don't think so.
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