Who would want to be a manager of their national football team, questions WADE PRETORIUS.
In one way or another Roy Hodgson, Vicente del Bosque, Anghel Iordanescu (Romania) and Leonid Slutsky (Russia) have all been relieved of their duties after failing to match performances with expectations in France. I expect several more to follow as the 24 teams participating in Euro 2016 but is it really fair to blame, almost completely, the individual on the sidelines for what goes wrong on the field?
Hodgson’s case is simple; he should never have been allowed to continue in the role after England’s abysmal 2014 Fifa World Cup campaign. The English FA have been allowed to be absolved from any liability because of the bumbling manager they hired. The former Fulham and Liverpool manager was tactically inept from start to finish but he wasn’t helped by his players. His players. He chose the squad with many of his preferred selections letting him down, while others simply lacked the fight needed to guts out such a fiercely competitive tournament.
The exact opposite case when looking at Iceland and Wales. Even Portugal. There are only a handful of stars, at best, among the three countries. Their managers are no better or worse than Hodgson but the players have stood up and fought tooth and nail. It would be foolish to think the team is not inspired by their manager but the fact remains, that it’s up to the players themselves to perform.
Marc Wilmots is likely to be sacked by Belgium after his side, who entered Euro 2016 ranked No 2 by Fifa, were dumped out by Wales. Gareth Bale didn’t even score. Yes, Wilmots falls into the same category as Hodgson when it comes to tactical know-how but if a country insists on having a homegrown manager who better than Wilmots to prepare Belgium’s team for battle?
Now Wilmots and Hodgson are even more similar if you think Glenn Hoddle or Gareth Southgate could be next in line for the Three Lions’ role. Will either of them be able to get Joe Hart to perform? Or solve the Wayne Rooney riddle? What about how best to play Jamie Vardy, Harry Kane and Daniel Sturridge in the same lineup?
If FA’s continue to demand a homegrown coach then they, and not the poor manager they hire, should bear the full brunt of the aftermath that comes from an early exit from a showpiece event.
Was it Hodgson’s fault that Hart failed to keep out Gareth Bale’s long-range free kick? Or that Kyle Walker failed to track the run of Iceland’s Ragnar Sigurdsson before another Hart blunder.
It wasn’t Wilmots’ fault that Thibaut Courtois was not at his Chelsea best for his national team. Similarily Romelu Lukaku and Yannick Carrasco failed to deliver consistently for Belgium but they, for the most part, have escaped criticism.
The players, barring a few England stars, generally get off pretty lightly, which has me asking: ‘Who would want to be a manager of a national football team?’