It is long overdue. But how refreshing to see football’s top jobs being filled by homegrown mangers.
Paul Lambert to Aston Villa, Brendan Rodgers to Liverpool and Roy Hodgson to England are all outstanding appointments destined to restore the status of the great British football manager.
Over-rated foreigners have been lining their pockets with multi-million pound salaries for years – and the truth is that shopping abroad is no guarantee of success.
To see a Scotsman a Welshman and an Englishman installed in three of the hottest seats in British football is a return to sanity that is good for our game on so many levels.
The millions wasted by decision makers on expensive names from abroad could not continue, especially when the price of failure is so high and the success-rate of foreigners – other than a few exceptions – has been minimal.
The FA have been the biggest losers with the grossly overpaid Fabio Capello and Sven Goran Eriksson both failing to live up to all the hype. True Steve Maclaren was an English-born failure who came in between the big names from abroad. But that is no reason to write off a whole nation.
Whether or not Roy Hodgson manages to fare significantly better, there is little doubt in my mind that the new England boss is going to restore pride in the top job. And that is just as important this time around.
Whatever the temptations to go continental, my belief is that every England manager must be English. Not just because success any other way would be a hollow victory. Equally important is the necessity to dismiss the inferiority complex that tells our upcoming mangers they are not good enough.
The truth is that when we give our best managers a chance they can deliver. Englishmen Hodgson, Alan Pardew and Harry Redknapp have all enjoyed outstanding seasons – and produced teams that play stylish football.
Hodgson may have been many people’s second choice behind Redknapp for the England job. But forget the rubbish written by some of our tabloid press. He is an outstanding manager and will get the best out of an England team short of quality. Where his predecessors have flattered to deceive my belief is that Roy’s boys will not underachieve because they respect the manager and understand what he wants to deliver.
Hodgson is a good communicator who connects with his players. And as former England manager Graham Taylor has predicted: “I just think he might do a lot better than people expect.’
With limited resources on his player options, the new England manager has already made it clear that he will give youth a chance. And that is going to be a key element in laying the foundations for the future.
The appointment of Gary Neville – a strong advocate for youth – to Hodgson’s coaching team is a master stroke that will serve England well.
Meanwhile, Scotsman Lambert and Welshman Rodgers are two of the most talented managers around who deserve their chance on the bigger stage after overachieving with newly promoted Norwich City and Swansea. Not only do I predict they will both bring stability and progress to their new clubs, they will do so playing attractive football. And that is good for the game.
Gary Neville: give youth a chance