Football

England missed a trick not appointing Pep Guardiola

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After recent revelations that the Football Association turned down the chance to interview Pep Guardiola for the England manager's job, the arrival of Fabio Capello's archaic successor, Roy Hodgson, looks like an even more puzzling appointment.

The FA's self-imposed policy to hire an Englishman is admirable, following the Italian head coach's controversial resignation in 2012, but what it has meant, is a missed opportunity for the national team to be guided by one of the best modern day managers in world football.

Guardiola's unrivalled spell of success during his time in charge of Barcelona - which saw the Spaniard build one of the greatest club sides ever - has established his reputation as a master tactician, with the ability to get the best out of players, as well as playing an attractive blend of creative, attacking, possession-based football.

His impressive haul of 14 trophies in just four years at Camp Nou, including two Champions League triumphs, three La Liga titles and multiple domestic cups, meant he should have been able to walk into any job he wanted, after opting to take a year-long sabbatical away from the game last summer.

That was the theory, anyway.

But, when Guardiola's representatives sounded out the 42-year-old for the England job in February 2012, former chairman David Bernstein snubbed the then Barca manager's interest, choosing instead to install Hodgson on May 1, in time to lead the national team out at the European Championships in Poland and Ukraine.

The almighty snub is already proving to be a decision that England officials must regret, given that the country's qualification hopes for next summer's World Cup in Brazil are still in the balance.

Defeat against Ukraine in Kiev tomorrow night will leave Hodgson's men with an uphill struggle to get out of Group H, and might be forced to go through the anxiety of a two-legged play-off to secure their place at the 2014 finals.

Friday's 4-0 victory over Moldova at Wembley took the Three Lions back to the top of the table on goal difference, ahead of second-placed Montenegro. However, Tuesday's clash will be no easy task, given that Ukraine have won each of their last four qualifiers, scoring 18 goals, and go into the match off the back of their 9-0 thrashing of San Marino.

Under Guardiola, England surely wouldn't be facing such an uncertain future, given his coaching class and pedigree. The fact he was the most sought-after manager in Europe last summer speaks volumes, and should have given the FA an indication not to turn their back on him.

England's loss proved to be Bayern Munich's gain, after Guardiola decided to take over from Jupp Heynckes at the Allianz Arena, off the back of the German giants' treble-winning 2012/13 campaign.

Four league games into the new season, and Bayern are undefeated in the Bundesliga with three wins and one draw, and have already claimed one trophy under Guardiola's stewardship, after beating Chelsea on penalties in the European Super Cup Final.

Wherever Guardiola goes, trophies tend to follow, while success, and the will to win, is ingrained in his approach to work. England could have won the 2014 World Cup under the former Barcelona boss. Instead, they might not even be present at the finals in Brazil next summer.

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Topics:
England Football
Football
World Cup

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