England’s build-up to Euro 2012 means the Three Lions enter the tournament with little expectation that they can win their second major trophy.
With Fabio Capello leaving his post in February after expressing his frustration with the Football Association over their decision to strip John Terry of the captaincy after allegations he racially abused Queens Park Rangers’ Anton Ferdinand, pre-tournament talk surrounded who would replace the Italian.
The appointment of Roy Hodgson was a surprise to many observers in England, particularly those in the press who had championed Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp.
Hodgson, who speaks five languages and has coached in eight different countries, is a tactically adroit coach who brings with him a wealth of experience. He will not provide the sensationalist headlines that Redknapp may have, but this is a coach who deserves his chance after accruing experience in leagues across Europe.
England’s ambitions are further complicated by Wayne Rooney’s two-match suspension for a red card picked up against Montenegro in the group stages. He will miss the games against France and Sweden.
Capello had his detractors as England coach, but there was a shift towards youth in the final year of his reign. In the likes of Joe Hart, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Jack Wilshere, Theo Walcott and Danny Welbeck there is hope for the future. Hodgson will also look to established stars such as Terry, Steven Gerrard and Rooney – once back from his ban – to provide the know-how necessary to go deep into the tournament.