England are on the verge of qualification for the 2014 World Cup but are still faced with two tricky games at Wembley, against Montenegro and Poland, which will seal their fate and perhaps be crucial in deciding whether Roy Hodgson is the man for the Three Lions in the long term.
Nobody can doubt Hodgson as a coach or a person. His CV is very impressive. He has many years of footballing experience behind him and is fully equipped to ply his trade at the very top level, having managed 16 teams in eight different countries.
His football management career has taken him all over the world, managing countries such as Switzerland and Finland and clubs such as Inter Milan and Liverpool.
He has managed a total of 970 games in his career. Whilst all this experience will help Hodgson in his current role as England boss he must surely realise that the England job is an all together different challenge to anything he has experienced before.
In his 20 England games in charge Hodgson has only lost one game, but do the eight draws so far show that he is not the man to drive England forward?
You could say the England job is a poisoned chalice as many managers have failed before Hodgson to live with the pressure that the job undoubtedly brings. Many consider the job to be one of the greatest in the world but it is also one of the most difficult because the English public and press are very quick to build up the hopes of a nation only to be equally as quick to criticise once results or performances do not go their way.
One minute a manager or player can be a national hero and the next they can be vilified from all corners. I do not envy Hodgson and the task he has taken on particularly if, or when, it ends in failure.
If England fail to top their group by next Tuesday night then I fear the knives will be out for Hodgson.
When Hodgson took the job he was not viewed as the number one choice, certainly not by the public, who viewed Harry Redknapp as the man to bring back success to the national team.
Redknapp is liked by football supporters up and down the country and he has a certain bond with supporters and players alike. Hodgson on the other hand is more old school and perhaps the FA believed him to be more their cup of tea and a manager who they could trust to not attract the wrong kind of attention. This was not the most auspicious start to his England reign.
Has overlooking Redknapp been a major mistake by the FA, just like when Brian Clough was also overlooked in the past?
Will Hodgson be remembered in history as yet another manager who tried but failed to return the glory days back to English football? Only time will tell.
Just this week Redknapp did Hodgson no favours at all by his revelations in his new book on the eve of these crucial qualifiers. Redknapp alludes to the fact that Hodgson was a safe bet for the FA and this close relationship with the FA, and the sometimes prehistoric way that they run the English game, will do him no favours when the going gets tough and criticism comes his way.
Hopefully in a weeks time we will be celebrating our qualification in style and looking forward to Hodgson leading England to Brazil. If not there will be many more questions asked of Hodgson, his players and the FA.
Unfortunately there wont be many acceptable answers, I fear.
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