So Roy Hodgson says the country’s top young talent is struggling to break through. Well why didn’t he do something about it when he was a club manager? It’s ironic how this only troubles him now that he is in charge of the England national team.
There’s always going to be a club versus country debate. I even wrote about my perspective on this as a fan in a previous article. I can totally understand club managers buying and playing footballers who they think will bring them success. But as an English manager, with an interest in the development of English players, why didn’t he bring some of those young English players through when he had the chance?
When Hodgson was in charge of Fulham he did a very good job. Not only did he help them qualify for European football, he tremendously led them to the Europa League Cup Final in 2010. And of the eighteen players who featured in his squad for that final, whilst eight were British, only five were English. What’s more, the youngest of those English players was 29 years of age. That’s hardly putting his faith in youth.
Hodgson concedes that he can’t expect managers to consider the English national team ahead of their own yet he also says: “We just have to hope that the English talent that’s being produced – and it will be because we have good academy systems – are still to be considered by their club managers and are good enough.”
He seems to be contradicting himself.
I’d suggest he casts his mind back to when he took charge as Liverpool manager. How many young English players did he promote to the first team? The answer is none. Kelly, Spearing and Robinson had already featured under Benitez, whilst Flanagan was given his debut by Dalglish. You weren’t so worried about developing young players then, were you Roy? I’m not saying that Hodgson should have put the international team before his Fulham or Liverpool sides. But his sudden concern about up and coming English talent seems a bit rich just because the shoe is on the other foot now that he’s managing England.