Talent Not an Issue for England's New Manager

Thursday, 03 Nov, 2016

England endured arguably their most humiliating defeat in their history when they were dumped out of Euro 2016 by Iceland. Roy Hodgson’s men failed to rise to the occasion in their last-16 clash as goals from Ragnar Sigurdsson and Kolbeinn Sigthorsson sent their side into the quarter-finals for the first time in their history.

The result proved to be the end for Hodgson as manager of the Three Lions as he resigned immediately after the loss, but failed to provide legitimate reasons to the press for his team’s premature exit from the competition. The 67-year-old drew the ire of England’s football fanbase for misusing the talent at his disposal, including deploying Harry Kane as a dead-ball specialist.

Sam Allardyce was the man chosen to replace Hodgson, but his reign lasted only one match due to his involvement in a secretly-filmed interview discussing third-party ownership of players. Gareth Southgate has taken temporary charge until a permanent successor is appointed, with the Three Lions putting in two underwhelming displays against Malta and Slovenia.

 

"Roy Hodgson, Fulham Manager" (CC BY 2.0) by nicksarebi

Despite all the gloom surrounding England at the moment, there is a promising group of players coming through the system that could reverse their fortunes, starting at the 2018 World Cup. The Three Lions are backed in the latest Bet365 football betting odds at 1/20 to qualify for the tournament in Russia, but performing on the biggest stage is another matter entirely and that will be the greater challenge that the new man in the dugout will face.

Fortunately for him there is a strong core running through the entire spine of the team, starting in goal where the Three Lions are blessed with talent. Joe Hart was one of the major culprits in England’s exit from the Euros and has been deemed not good enough to play for Manchester City by Pep Guardiola. Fraser Forster and Jack Butland offer younger alternatives that could improve the nation’s chances in tournament football, while not having endured the scars of past failures.

Defensively there is a dearth of top quality, with Gary Cahill and Chris Smalling struggling throughout the Euros. John Stones is considered the next great hope, while players such as Michael Keane and Ben Gibson have either been called into the squad or have been considered, but both are yet to prove themselves in the Premier League. Hiring a defensive-minded coach could be a smart move for the Three Lions to develop the youngsters into forming a solid outfit.