After the shambles that the England team put on during the World Cup there was calls from various parties stating that Hodgson should relieved of his duties. A repeated suggestion that has reared its ugly head again is the idea of Henry James Redknapp taking over.
Redknapp is a master at working the media to suit himself, and is a classic old school manager. In fact I would even argue that the timing of the claims he made that some of his former players asked to not play for their countries was timed to perfection to get his name banded around again within the England debate.
Within recent tournaments we’ve seen two kinds of coaches be successful at international level, those that are a part of a philosophy introduced into their countries footballing culture which in tern breeds success through sticking to their beliefs. Spain and Germany have been the two most successful cases of this, with Belgium also demonstrating this with the vast array of stars that they have produced. This system has bread long term success for Spain and their coach Vincent Del Bosque who has allowed this philosophy to flourish.
The second type have been astute tactical managers who get their team through tournament football through a combination of nouse, experience and knowledge of their opposition. Otto Rehagal’s Greece in 2004 and Marcelo Lippi’s Italy in 2006 have been the biggest success stories of this type of management, grinding their way to success.
Harry Redknapp is a different animal in management. He comes across as an old school motivator who brings success by putting round pegs in round holes and getting the team playing for him. While this type of management could succeed at international level, sometimes you don’t have a peg the right shape for your hole and you have to adapt accordingly. At club level you can purchase a peg in the correct shape for your team (hence the ‘whealer-dealer’ tag Redknapp has acquired in his career).
England currently don’t have a set philosophy to their international play, and it is going to take a long time to implement one. With Redknapp being 67-years-old he isn’t going to be around long enough to implement a philosophy. Similarly he isn’t a tactically astute coach as shown in the way he stuck to a rigid 4-4-2 with Spurs when they began to fall away in title races and races for fourth place.
His recent acquisition of Glenn Hoddle as a tactical coach highlights his attempts to counter his own deficiencies. In complete contrast to Harry Redknapp, England’s current manager Roy Hodgson has a vast amount of experience managing in various countries around Europe as well as previous spells in charge of other national teams. He has a tactical knowledge superior to that of Redknapp, and Fulham’s run to the 2010 Europa League Final proves he has the ability to take an un-fancied team, who are far from being favourites to win a competition, to the later stages.
Long term England and the FA have to develop a style of play throughout all England teams, with this being developed alongside a younger coach who is a part of this philosophy. However, until this philosophy has been implemented, a tactical coach like Hodgson is the best option to maintain a level of performance within the senior England team until this philosophy can produce the next generation of players, truly taking control of English Football.