‘Big Roy’ fits the bill to give struggling Watford a chance of surviving | Roy Hodgson

For Roy Hodgson, the “straightforward factor would have been to disappear off into retirement”. So mentioned Dan Ashworth in February 2019, as he mirrored on Hodgson’s failed tenure as the England supervisor, and the view of the Soccer Affiliation’s former technical director would have discovered broad settlement.

Solely not with Hodgson.

What occurred with England stays the greatest persist with which to beat the 74-year-old, even when the Liverpool help would possibly beg to differ. The quarter-final displaying at Euro 2012, after Hodgson had been parachuted in at the final minute, was creditable however then got here the group stage exit at the 2014 World Cup. After which got here Iceland at Euro 2016.

Hodgson is just not the kind of man for whom the straightforward choice appeals. And neither is he the sort to embrace retirement – even at this stage of his life.


It was why he jumped at the problem to get again in at Crystal Palace in September 2017, regardless of the membership he supported as a boy being in disarray – with no factors and no targets from the opening 4 matches of the Premier League season.

It was why, when he departed at the finish of final season, head held excessive after giving Palace the top-flight consolation they’d craved for years, he refused to rule out one other comeback. And it’s why we’re the place we’re, with Hodgson having signed at Watford, keen to throw himself into one other extremely daunting task.

Hodgson is already the oldest individual to have managed in the Premier League; he broke Sir Bobby Robson’s report when he led Palace to a 4-1 win over Leicester at the age of 71 years and 198 days. He has been out of the sport for the previous eight months. However those that ask why he nonetheless wants it, why he ought not merely to stroll away from the remorseless psychological and bodily pressures, clearly have no idea him.

“It’s a sadistic pleasure,” Hodgson advised the Guardian in January 2018. “The struggling by no means stops – that’s the downside … if something, it will get worse. Getting that first foot on the rung of the ladder, that’s the place you discover it simpler to shrug off these instances when your foot slips off and you’ve got to get your self going once more. When you could have been fortunate sufficient to transfer up, all you see is the slide again down. You don’t see the additional steps upwards.


“You study to harden your self in the direction of it however, the longer you might be in, it isn’t one thing you possibly can give up calmly. Even when you’re not successful, it’s doable to derive some satisfaction from the reality you might be working correctly.”

Watford haven’t received since 20 November and the method of final Friday’s 3-0 defeat at dwelling to lowly Norwich – the membership’s seventh loss in eight league matches, the different was drawn – made the dismissal of Claudio Ranieri really feel inevitable. The workforce appeared bankrupt on each degree and Hodgson will want to hit the coaching floor operating earlier than his first sport on Saturday week – the journey to Burnley, the solely membership under Watford in the desk.

Nonetheless, few managers are employed in good instances and Hodgson has been in comparable conditions earlier than, significantly in the Premier League. At Fulham in December 2007 and West Brom in February 2011, he took over groups at low ebbs and in critical hazard of relegation solely to steer them to security. And he would do the identical at Palace. Overlook Huge Ron or Huge Sam. It’s Huge Roy that a struggling membership wants.

Roy Hodgson could have to organise a Watford facet that has not received since November. {Photograph}: Darren Staples/PA


At Fulham, Hodgson drove them to seventh and twelfth in the following two seasons, reaching the Europa League ultimate in the second; at West Brom, it was tenth in his one full marketing campaign and at Palace, it was eleventh, twelfth, 14th and 14th.

Hodgson likes to put down agency foundations and construct on them however, if he has to look no additional than the finish of the season at Watford, then effective by him. It’s all about instilling solidity and shortly, offering the platform for a little flexibility in the ultimate third, and Hodgson has been doing this since his first managerial function at Halmstad in Sweden, in 1976.

Again then, Hodgson inherited a workforce who had prevented relegation on objective distinction the earlier season and have been extensively tipped to go down. He modified to a again 4, inspired his gamers to push up, strain the ball and likewise transition shortly, utilizing lengthy passes in behind the opposition defence. Halmstad received the league immediately.

If ever a workforce wanted tightening up, it’s Watford; their defence is recurrently referred to as being of Championship degree. However Hodgson will get them organised in meticulous style, operating the identical session time and again, drumming dwelling his ideas of form, construction and sample of play.

It may be monotonous for the gamers, even boring, and Hodgson’s groups haven’t at all times been a straightforward watch, which might be why it didn’t work out for him throughout that sad six-month spell at Liverpool in 2010-11. Or with England. However there may be a technique to it and Watford are sorely in want of one thing.

Hodgson constantly mentioned that so long as he retained his vitality and enthusiasm, he would keep on. As he prepares for his twenty second job as a supervisor, there isn’t any signal of it fading.

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