In every circle of friends, there is always one guy who has a reputation for regularly drawing the short straw. The unlucky member of the group who, more often than not, is left to pick up the tab in the pub at the end of the night. In football's circle of managerial mates, that man is Roy Hodgson.

After the Football Association announced its intention to interview the West Bromwich Albion chief for the vacant England manager's position, ahead of the European Championships this summer, I can't help but feel a little sorry for the Baggies boss.

Not for the opportunity he has been presented with - there is arguably no greater honour than taking charge of your country - but, for what I fear will inevitably follow. Haven't we been here before?

Hodgson's heroics at Fulham, a club from humble beginnings that he took all the way to a Europa League final in 2010, put his coaching credentials back on the English map, leading to his appointment as the long-term successor to Rafa Benitez at Liverpool.

However, in just 191 days at Anfield, his name was dragged through the mud; pilloried for what was inaccurately perceived as negative tactics and under-par performances, which contributed to the stagnation of a former Premier League powerhouse.

The vitriol against Hodgson questioned his ability to succeed at the very top of the game, with his stigmatism as a 'small club' manager seemingly working against him. Ignored were the many achievements on a colourful CV, that has taken in sixteen teams from eight different countries, during a career that boasts more than 35 years of domestic and international experience.

Perhaps Hodgson's greatest managerial accomplishment came in 1994 when he guided the Swiss national team to the last 16 of the World Cup, following that up with successful qualification for the European Championships in 1996; Switzerland had failed to qualify for a major tournament since the 1960s.

After spells with Inter Milan, Blackburn Rovers, Grasshopper, FC Copenhagen, Udinese, the United Arab Emirates and Viking, the well-travelled Englishman returned to international management with Finland in 2006, where he guided the country to its highest ever FIFA ranking (33rd), and came agonisingly close to qualifying for a major tournament for the first time in the nation's history.

Despite his unrivaled success at Craven Cottage, in two-and-a-half years in west London, when Hodgson arrived at The Hawthorns in February 2011, he was facing an uphill struggle to not only restore his own reputation, but also to stave off the threat of relegation, with a West Brom team that was in turmoil.

Having been knocked down as quickly as he was built up at Liverpool, the nomadic coach successfully guided the Baggies to Premier League safety, and in his first full season in the West Midlands, could now lead the club to its first ever top-10 finish in the top-flight.

Clearly Hodgson has done a good job at West Brom, and at Fulham, but England is a different challenge altogether. The Three Lions boss needs to carry the country, innovate and inspire, while not buckling under the nation's hopes and dreams as Euro 2012 fast approaches.

But, unless results are good from the outset, failure to garner the overwhelming support of the fans, will leave him heading quickly for the Wembley exit door. Of course, Hodgson will know all about the risk that comes with such pressure, after his brief stint at Anfield.

If he is, as is now heavily anticipated, appointed to lead England to Poland and Ukraine this summer, a poor showing in the tournament will more than likely leave his reputation tarnished, and him reaching for his P45 once again.

The pity is - that like when he arrived at Liverpool - Hodgson is hardly inheriting a squad full of promise. It is a group of players that have been in decline for a number of years, and is more likely to break him than make him. He's drawn the short straw again.

Topics:
#West Bromwich Albion
#Football
#Premier League