THE BLOG

Neville for England? Not Any More

05/04/2016 15:37 | Updated 05 April 2016

I have made some pretty poor predictions this season, it has to be said.

A personal highlight was my prediction of Watford's relegation from the Premier League on the grounds of their forwards not being able to adapt to the higher tier.

26 goals between Deeney and Ighalo, a Wembley semi-final, and mid-table security have made a firm mockery of that statement - although in the same article I did say Villa's goose was cooked, for which I feel some dignity can be salvaged.

Perhaps my most wildly off the mark statement, however, was predicting on September 28 that in 10 months time, Gary Neville would become England boss.

The omens seemed good - plenty of international caps and experience in the bank, a respected punditry career, and a place on the coaching bench behind Roy Hodgson. GNev seemed more than ready to step up.

He did step up to management, but not in the way anyone expected. I have also written about being in the Sky Sports News studio as the news broke of his appointment by Valencia. I was in the far less glamorous surroundings of my Tottenham bedsit when news broke of his sacking.

I think Neville has the makings of a good manager, maybe even great. I think he will make his return in the English game next season, perhaps at a big club on hard times - Wolves, Nottingham Forest or QPR spring to mind.

But he will not be England boss - the FA will know the retribution will be savage if they replace a newly popular Roy Hodgson with a man who has only won three league games in his career.

So the question must be asked again, who is going to be England manager after Euro 2016?

When the favourite for the post is now Neville, followed by Alan Pardew, whose Palace have not won a game in 2016, you know the talent pool is less Olympic than paddling.

Names like Brendan Rodgers and Jose Mourinho, tempting last summer, have lost a great deal of lustre, and as a Boro fan, I can warn the FA away from giving Gareth Southgate the senior job with some experience. Also the U21s were terrible last year.

For me, there can only be one man - the man in possession right now.

Hodgson, off the back of his young blood finally showing some teeth and talent against top opposition in the meaningless but still impressive comeback win over Germany, has a new ace to play if he wants a crack at Russia 2018, and that seems like the best option to me.

Roy has done a good job, and is hungry to make up for the 2014 travesty - and England were, without any hint of bias, in a very tough group in Brazil.

People continue to parade Hodgson's constant selection of Rooney as evidence he is out of touch - ignoring the fact he also gave England debuts to Kane, Vardy, Drinkwater, Shaw, and Stones. And the fact Rooney is captain, and really quite good.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it - particularly if you have some fairly stable glue to hand already.

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