Last night will be one that the footballing world will never forget. International minnows Iceland knocking out the mighty megabucks of England, showing that steely determination and togetherness can outdo any riches your opposition can possess.
However it does help when the opposing manager appears to not have a Plan A let alone a Plan B. And to paraphrase the latter’s musical name sake, Roy Hodgson appeared to have stayed too long amid calls all tournament that he lacked the tactical instinct that most successful managers flaunt both at club level and internationally.
So after England limped, nay collapsed out of the Euros no sooner had my eyesight returned after staring at Ian Wright’s horrendous looking shirt (one of many) and with England needing a lift Roy Hodgson “pulled a David Cameron” – he quit.
He tried to make his departure look admirable, noble and respectable when in fact it made him look weak, inept, rehearsed and cowardly….quote me! What we needed to hear was a manager show passion, show pride, show any form of emotion but what we were fed was a robotic, monotonous and scripted exit for our not so powerful leader.
Whereas many (Kelsey De Maria) have stated he was England’s worse ever manager, I would disagree and say he is definitely top 3 but not as bad as Steve McClaren and the Postman Pat look-a-like in Fabio Capello.
Now where do we go from here? How do England try to compete on the grandest stage of the what will be worst World Cup of all time in Russia 2018? Who will oversee us attempt to qualify?
For me, I would look abroad at managers with proven international reputations for the big time. Obviously a lot of people have spent the last few years complain and bitch and moan about us wanting an English manager but other than Allardyce, Pardew and Howe I don’t see anyone good enough or worthy enough to even be linked with the role.
I wouldn’t personally want Howe right now as I feel if he doesn’t get it right it will harm his development as a top class manager. Out of the other two Big Sam is the man. But I would miss seeing him in all of his glory week in week out so he can stay at Sunderland.
Anyway, where were we? Oh yes, a foreign manager. Here is a list of 5 foreign managers I feel the FA and English public should consider for the role. To reassure you all before we dive in, there isn’t a Roberto Martinez in sight.
Rafael Benitez has expressed on many occasions down the years that he would consider taking the cursed role of England head coach. I for one would love to see Rafa get the gig.
A man who has won the Champions League, the Europa League, multiple league titles and has a reputation to build (much like England) after the Real Madrid fiasco and not being able to prevent a Newcastle United relegation last year. Think about it logically, this one is actually quite possible. Rafa in the back of his mind will be hoping and potentially praying for an escape route from Tyneside.
Imagine how much his reputation would suffer if he is unable to get the Toon promoted straight back to the Premier League? Quite considerably I’d say.
Everywhere Rafa has gone he has won over fans and the neutrals, even at Chelsea. I think he is the kind of manager we can all get behind because hey we’re terrible and he looks like a Spanish waiter? Everyone is a fan of Spain. Rafael Benitez would make a great England manager, and that, is a fact.
Next, we have the elderly statesman of Guus Hiddink. A man we all know and love after a couple of caretaker managerial stints with Chelsea as well as his prowess on the international front. If we learned one thing from Mr Hiddink last season it was that he is prepared to give youth a chance, something which the new England manager will need to be able to do.
The development of the likes of Ruben Loftus-Cheek last year turned heads. Imagine the prospect of King Guus nurturing the likes of Dele Alli, Eric Dier, Chris Smalling and Marcus Rashford on the international stage in the lead up to the World Cup and beyond.
I think he would get it right, I really do. He is a man who commands respect whilst building a rapport with his players, his bosses, his fans and the media which is something you need in abundance (especially the latter) when you have the hardest job in the country. Anyone who says they wouldn’t want to see a man like Guus Hiddink in charge of the England team is either clueless or a liar.
The next man I would consider is the man I wanted to take over at Manchester United, a certain newly unemployed, World Cup winner in Laurent Blanc.
A man who has pedigree both internationally as well as domestically as a leader and a winner. He knows English football from his time at the Red Devils and is on the list of 31 ex-Alex Ferguson managed players to go into management. Whereas I would consider him taking over as an outside chance I would love to see him manage in England.
On the podcast for months I was begging, pleading, demanding that United hire this man because he likes to play good football but also likes to build a strong defence, something which was torn apart last night, especially after the Iceland equaliser.
As I have previously stated, Chris Smalling would become a world class defender under Blanc’s guidance, but in terms of England I think Blanc would do wonders for our supposed future superstar in John Stones too.
For a strong team to be successful you need a spine and a strong foundation. Sometimes if you are hard enough to break down and beat it is easier to win.
Just look at Italy in the World Cup 2006, Spain in 2010, even Germany in 2014 (bar the Brazil demolition) these teams built from the back, they became hard to break down and they led from the front. The first two especially on that list didn’t score many goals but they didn’t concede many either. Blanc would be a dream and he would command respect and wouldn’t put up with failure.
The next and final two managers I have saved for last as just simply, could you imagine? Firstly lets look at everybody’s favourite German, Jurgen Klinsmann.
A man gifted with attacking prowess and footballing knowledge. A man who knows English football, understands English football and what it takes to make an impact in English football. After stints with Tottenham as a player he is more than suited for the role.
He has international managerial experience after a couple of years coaching a Germany national side who were searching for an identity in the middle of the last decade, before finding a home across the pond with the USA national team. A role he has been in since 2011.
Maybe it is time for something new for him? A step-up? A chance for a bigger role? Not belittling the USA but managing a side like England is a completely different level with great pressure but greater rewards. But he is German, so the media would have a field day.
Personally, I feel I have left the best till last. Sit down and just think about this. Imagine, a press conference is called. The media sit there, awaiting patiently.
Greg Dyke or some clueless FA representative (not including the hero David Gill) and they introduce the new England manager…..moments of silence and still in the air are met with the incoming, heroic figure walks into the room. Ladies and gentlemen the new England manager….Louis Van Gaal.
Wouldn’t it just be perfect? I’ve literally just decided whilst writing this that this is what I want in life. I want LVG to manage England. Like a spoiled child in terms of United, I didn’t want him but I don’t want anyone else to have him, so I will keep him by just giving him the England job.
The philosophy, the clipboard, the charisma, the charm, it would just work wouldn’t it? I don’t think it will happen personally but we can all dream can’t we? At 66/1 it would be an unbelievable bet. I’m just going to leave you with a picture of the future England manager…