Gauging the football views of the man on the street can often be a tricky business, but it seems as though the imminent appointment of Roy Hodgson as England manager has left many fans cold.
Certainly, large swathes of the media will be disappointed to hear that long-time bookies favourite Harry Redknapp is set to be overlooked, especially those who have the Tottenham boss on speed-dial for their latest transfer ‘scoop’.
Ever since Fabio Capello announced his resignation from the post in the wake of John Terry being stripped of the armband for the second time in two years, Redknapp has been widely expected to step in for the upcoming Euro 2012 campaign.
Indeed, with the Italian’s departure coming on the same day that Redknapp cleared his name at Southwark Crown Court following allegations of tax evasion, it seemed that the stars were aligned for the former Bournemouth, West Ham, Portsmouth and Southampton boss to take the reins.
The FA’s four-man panel had different ideas, though, and chairman David Bernstein will hold talks with Hodgson on Monday afternoon and the West Brom manager’s ascent to the top job now looks a formality.
Perhaps Bernstein and his chums were put off by the collapse Spurs have endured in the intervening period, with a likely title challenge being transformed into a nervy battle for Champions League qualification in a matter of weeks.
Perhaps they just didn’t fancy the media circus that would surround Redknapp, who is said to be aghast at apparently not even being invited to interview for the vacancy.
Or perhaps, contrary to the majority of ‘expert’ views expressed about the news thus far, they believe Hodgson is the right man for the job – and there is a very strong argument to suggest this assessment is correct.
At the risk of irking Redknapp apologists, a CV which can only boast an FA Cup and Championship title with Portsmouth – and a League Two title and Associate Members’ Cup win with Bournemouth – is hardly the stuff of managerial genius.
Admittedly, the trophies Hodgson won during his successful time in Sweden and Denmark will count for nothing in the eyes of the average England fan.
However, this is a man with vast experience, having managed 18 clubs in 26 years and also acquired plenty of knowledge of international football through stints with Switzerland, United Arab Emirates and Finland.
But rather than focus on these points, let us consider what appears to be the main objection to Hodgson’s appointment.
One of Hodgson’s great strengths is that his teams are well-drilled and hard to beat – surely that’s exactly what England need this summer? Anyone who watched the tactical mess that was the 4-1 defeat by Germany at the last World Cup cannot argue with this point.
The argument goes that the 64-year-old is great at over-achieving with smaller clubs – reaching the Europa League final with Fulham and turning West Brom from relegation candidates into a mid-table team being recent examples – but is not up to taking on a major job.
Hodgson’s ill-fated spell at Liverpool, when the former Inter Milan boss was shown the door after just 191 days in the Anfield hotseat, is cited as the prime example.
Of course, this criticism is perfectly warranted – for a man as intelligent as Hodgson, he seemed strangely unable to immerse himself in the culture of the club.
He made several PR faux-pas with the Reds fans, such as suggesting Liverpool could be vulnerable to a bid from bitter rivals Manchester United for Fernando Torres, prior to the erstwhile Kop idol eventually being sold to Chelsea..
His style of football was heavily criticised, as were some of his signings (Paul Konchesky now plays in the Championship for Leicester, in case you were wondering), and he did lose to lowly Northampton Town in the Carling Cup at Anfield.
Liverpool were also hovering perilously above the relegation zone on his watch at one stage – although his replacement, Kenny Dalglish, hasn’t exactly set the world on fire with his league results since then.
However, the real irony is that this argument is actually one of the most compelling reasons to give Hodgson the job.
It’s really very straightforward. The accepted wisdom is that Hodgson is good at making average teams better, but a job like the England one is ‘too big for him’.
Maybe I’m missing something, but England are average. They have been the epitome of average for years now, haven’t they?
Most pundits also agree that one of Hodgson’s great strengths is that his teams are always well-drilled and hard to beat – surely that’s exactly what England need this summer?
Anyone who watched the tactical mess that was the 4-1 defeat by Germany at the last World Cup cannot argue with this point.
The other stick often used to beat Hodgson with is that his style of football is boring and negative. Again, this can actually be viewed as an indication of his suitability for the role.
When the chips are down, England have proved time and again that they don’t have the technical prowess or ball retention skills to back up their natural inclination to take the game to the likes of Germany and Spain.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m a purist at heart and would much rather the Three Lions were smashing all comers with an aesthetically pleasing brand of attacking football.
But the reality is that we’re just not good enough to do it – I have strong views on why but that’s for another day – so can we not accept that, rein our instincts in and adopt a more pragmatic approach for the immediate future in a bid to get results?
Take the recent example of Chelsea, who showed the value of discipline, team shape and a clear strategy over two legs against a Barcelona side who many observers believe to be the greatest of all time.
Similarly, Hodgson has shown during his time at Fulham and West Brom that he is canny enough to frustrate supposedly superior teams and get results against them.
Can we not realistically hope he will do the same if and when we face the big guns in Poland and Ukraine?
I’d be prepared to bet that most of those who champion Redknapp are probably the same people who decry the fact that the players who regularly excel in big Premier League and Champions League matches seem to go missing for England too often.
But the likes of Wayne Rooney and Rio Ferdinand want Redknapp, these self-appointed experts claim. Of course they do, because they know he will indulge them and pander to their egos.
That’s not what England need right now. What England need is a man who has the respect of the players and can organise them into a determined, cohesive unit for a big tournament which is fast approaching.
Regardless of how we arrived at this situation, Hodgson ticks both boxes. So if, as expected, he is named as manager, England fans must focus on getting behind him, rather than waiting to say ‘I told you so’ at the first sign of trouble.
New customers can register here to claim a free £25 bet or click here to see all our Euro 2012 odds.
Follow us on Twitter @bwinbetting