Thanks to England’s dramatic loss to Iceland at Euro 2016, Roy Hodgson is a man the masses find it easy to poke fun at but since taking over the reins at Crystal Palace, the 70-year-old has done a great deal to repair his bruised reputation within the game.
Speaking to The Guardian’s Dominic Fifield on Thursday following his routine pre-match press conference, Roy proved beyond any doubt that his passion for the game still burns as brightly as ever, despite his advancing years.
Whilst the man himself if acutely aware of the potential for his intensity to drop a tad on the training ground if he isn’t careful, you don’t get the impression when reading Dom’s interview, that he’s a man on the brink of giving it all up for a quieter life; in fact, it feels as though the opposite is probably true.
For Hodgson, just like the much-loved Bobby Robson and today’s opposite number Arsene Wenger, football management is a drug that it simply impossible to break away from. Whilst no one would doubt that Roy is full of worldly wisdom after more than 40 years in the game, any suggestion that he should give his body a rest is cast aside each morning when he steps foot on the training ground. Given our results since he arrived in September, I can hardly blaming for wanting to continue for the foreseeable future.
Although this season’s job is far from done, the turnaround under his stewardship has been utterly remarkable to date, with our change in fortunes seemingly built on a rock-solid platform of the footballing principles that he has stuck to throughout his time as a manager. It worked in Sweden, where he is looked upon as the man who revolutionised the game for an entire generation, just as it worked at Inter Milan, Fulham, West Brom and many more. That sort of record, over such a prolonged period, wipes away any chance of his success being a fluke, leading me to believe that Steve Parish has finally found the ideal man to take us forward.
Am I still conceded that he may call it a day in the summer if he does manage to save us from the drop? Of course, I wouldn’t be a Palace fan if I wasn’t. That said, every word he’s uttered since stepping in seems to portray a man who is in his element when thrust into the pressure-cooker atmosphere of the beautiful game.
Long may it continue.