Hodgson the 'stand-out' England candidate

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The FA has described new England boss Roy Hodgson as the "outstanding" candidate and the unanimous choice of the FA selection panel.

The former-West Brom head coach has signed a four-year deal with England and will lead his country through until at least the 2016 European Championships in France.

FA chairman David Bernstein revealed that Hodgson was the clear favourite of the four-man selection panel, and was identified as the preferred candidate more than a month ago. However, Bernstein indicated the FA waited until Sunday to make their approach to avoid disrupting West Brom's Premier League campaign.

Hodgson possesses the experience of international management, having guided Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates and Finland in the past, and the 64-year-old always believed he had the credentials to handle the pressures of the top job.

"Given my CV, I had the right to hope and harbour the wish that the FA, after going through the process, would choose me," said Hodgson.

The former Fulham, Inter Milan and Liverpool manager will see out the Premier League season with West Brom before taking up the reins with England, and he anticipates a tough tournament.

"It's one of the hardest [groups]. When the Football Association asked me to be England manager no-one said it would be an easy job and I would be able to look forward to some sunny, pleasant days ahead," added Hodgson.

"I have got 40 days and 40 nights before the start of Euro 2012 and I'm going to be working long hours."

The new England boss also admitted he would be "bitterly disappointed" if he failed to guide the Three Lions out of the group stages.

"We go into tournaments to win them, we're a major football nation," said Hodgson. "It's never going to be easy and it's a little more difficult because the man who qualified the team left and I came in at a late stage."

Hodgson replaces Fabio Capello, who resigned in February over the FA's decision to strip John Terry of the captaincy. Following the Italian's resignation, Harry Redknapp was installed as the immediate favourite to succeed him, but FA chairman Bernstein insisted that Roy was always the number one target.

"The whole thing worked out almost exactly as we'd planned from the beginning," said Bernstein. "This was our strategy and we're sitting here with our favoured man."

The FA chairman also confirmed that Redknapp had not been approached, and despite a shortlist containing several "high-profile" candidates, Bernstein rejected suggestions Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger had been considered.

"We only approached one club," insisted Bernstein. "We initially put together a list of names for consideration, then reduced that down in time. Roy emerged as the stand-out name."

The 64-year-old has a long and varied managerial career, encompassing 18 teams, including three national sides, and Hodgson's experience of international football is believed to have given him the edge over others on the shortlist.

The former Switzerland manager guided the nation to the 1994 World Cup and took them as high as third in the world rankings while he also enjoyed a successful spell in charge of Finland in 2006-07.

"With the board, we were unanimous in choosing Roy, a manager of vast experience of international and European football," said the FA chairman.

"This is the first time the FA have appointed an England manager with any previous experience of international football."

However, the new England boss faces some difficult dilemmas before next month's European Championships, including the selection of John Terry and Rio Ferdinand and question marks surrounding the England captaincy.

John Terry was stripped of the role after allegations of racially abusing Rio Ferdinand's brother, Anton Ferdinand, during a Premier League match against QPR in October and Hodgson refused to comment on the FA's decision.

Hodgson, who will announce his squad for the tournament at the end of the Premier League season, will also have to do without Wayne Rooney for the first two group games against France and Sweden.

West Bromwich Albion
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