Roy Hodgson to take over as England soccer manager

London, May 2: Roy Hodgson is the new England manager, the Football Association (FA) announced Tuesday.

Hodgson has agreed to sign a four-year contract with the FA that runs until 2016, an FA statement said. He will be in charge for this summer’s European Championships in Poland and Ukraine, the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and Euro 2016 in France.

He is currently manager of the Premier League side West Bromwich and has agreed a four-year deal to become the full-time manager of the Three Lions.

The FA says Hodgson is the only English manager currently working in top flight have won the League Managers’ Association manager of the year award. He also has vast experience of international and European football, having handled clubs like Inter Milan, Blackburn Rovers, Grasshoppers, FC Copenhagen, Fulham and Liverpool as well managing in Norway and Sweden.

He also has been a regular member of FIFA and UEFA’s technical study groups.

Hodgson, who once coached the national teams of Switzerland, Finland and the United Arab Emirates, met with FA officials at Wembley Monday.

West Bromwich Albion said in a statement that Hodgson will take the club’s final two matches of the season, away to Bolton and home to Arsenal, before officially taking England’s reins May 14, the day after the Premier League season ends.

West Brom chairman Jeremy Peace said: “We understand Roy’s desire to take the England job and he will leave us with our best wishes.”

England’s 13th permanent manager, Hodgson will take charge of the squad for the first time against Norway May 26. His first Wembley match at the helm will be against Belgium June 2.

The 64-year-old has admitted that he faces a tough task in his new role but is confident that he will be a hit as he looks to finally end the country’s trophy drought.

Stuart Pearce, in temporary charge of the national side while the FA made their decision, recently stated that he was prepared to lead the team at Euro 2012, despite also being responsible for the England Under-21 side and Team GB at the Olympics.

In his first reaction after the appointment, Hodgson has admitted that the first task he faces is to win over the Three Lions’ players.

A number of players had called for Redknapp to take over the role following Fabio Capello’s resignation in February, but Hodgson is confident that his managerial record will help to convince any doubters that he is the right choice to replace the Italian.

“Every coach has got to win over players, there’s no question of that, that’s part of your job. It won’t be the first time I step into a job where I’m meeting a group of players, many of whom I don’t know, and my first job is to win them over,” Goal.com quoted Hodgson as saying after the appointment.

He also acknowledged that there are a number of differences between managing a club and leading a country, but feels that his previous experiences will help him.

“As a club coach you get a lot more time with your players. You get them on a daily basis and if you’ve got a message to get across you can sometimes put that message across somewhat easier than you can with a national team,” he observed.

“But I’ve been with national teams as well, I know the difficulties involved.”

Hodgson revealed that he plans to talk to various players including John Terry and Rio Ferdinand, after doubts were raised over them being in the same squad when the Chelsea captain is set to stand trial for racially abusing Ferdinand’s brother, Anton.

Questioned if the two could play together with Terry’s case looming, he said he could not answer that right away.

“Of course John and Rio, as respected members of the team, are going to be two players that I need to speak to.

“But I couldn’t answer your question (about the court case) at this moment in time, certainly not before I’ve had a chance to hopefully sit down with them, but if I can’t sit down with them, I’ll speak to them on the telephone.”

However, he confirmed that Wayne Rooney will definitely be part of his squad despite the Manchester United striker missing the first two games through suspension.

He refused to be drawn on a player to captain the side, adding: “That’s another thing that will have to be carefully thought out so if you don’t mind I’ll skip decisions like that at this press conference. In the days ahead it’s going to be one of the things that will occupy my time.”

IANS