Hodgson: Thick skin needed for England coach

New England manager Roy Hodgson has admitted he may need to grow a thicker skin to cope with the rigours of his role.

Football News: Roy Hodgson

Hodgson's appointment was only confirmed on Tuesday, yet already he has been the victim of tabloid headlines that have earned widespread condemnation and triggered the Football Association into a damning complaint.

Yet the 64-year-old will know the knives will only truly be sharpened once his team start playing.

Few managers escape. Steve McClaren was dubbed "Wally with the Brolly" as England crashed out of Euro 2008 and Graham Taylor was depicted as a turnip after one pitiful performance against Sweden.

Hodgson accepts he is not impervious to criticism, and was pained by the battering he took during his ill-fated stint at Liverpool.

However, as he prepares to start his reign with pre-Euro 2012 friendlies against Norway and Belgium, Hodgson says he is happier that way than being immune to such brickbats but not having the tools to actually manage football players.

"Maybe I should develop one," he said, when asked whether he had a thick skin.

"I'm a football coach. That's been the whole of my life.

"Dealing with the mass media has been a part of that. I have not shied away from it and it hasn't bothered me. It's part of my duties.

"I get on with it and do a reasonable job.

"But my forte is coaching footballers and preparing, building and improving football teams.

"That's basically what the England manager's job is. If I'm going to be vulnerable in any area it might be that I don't have a thick enough skin.

"But I'd rather that than not have the wherewithal to do the job."

And Hodgson is certain he has that. So sure in fact that he didn't, for a second, think about turning the FA down when David Bernstein made his call last Sunday.

"There was no element of doubt," he said.

"I have been a candidate in the past and it's gone to other people.

"When this opportunity came around, even though I maybe should have considered these things, I haven't.

"I'm just delighted and pleased to have the opportunity to lead my country and help the team get success."

Hodgson confirmed he may decide to contact his predecessor, Fabio Capello, for a bit of advice.

That could be particularly helpful, for if there is one area the Italian might have had a positive impact in Poland and Ukraine this summer, it would be in the lessons learned from that abysmal experience at the World Cup in South Africa.

"It's a good idea," said Hodgson.

"No doubt I will try and speak to him, if I can track him down, although it's not something I've had a chance to do yet."

Hodgson's first task will be to select a 23-man squad, having already rejected the idea he might pick an expanded squad, as Capello did, for a pre-tournament training camp in Spain, which should be confirmed early next week.

On the face of it, the duty is not one to relish.

Players of proven world-class ability appear somewhat thin on the ground, especially as Wayne Rooney is suspended for the opening two games.

Hodgson does not see it like that though.

Neither does he feel England's continued lack of success at international level is down to producing players of dubious technical ability.

"That would be a very harsh criticism," he said

"The respect for English football is very high.

"Everyone, like ourselves, is surprised we haven't been able to capitalise on the talent we've produced.

"But it's going too far to say something's desperately wrong.

"You need a bit of luck in tournament football and we have not been blessed with it.

"Expectations do weigh heavily. The fear of failure. We have to be aware it's a factor in everything we do, so we have to take it into account when we prepare the team."

And those thoughts will be filling Hodgson's head over the next week, which may mean he becomes distracted from what is still his day job at West Brom.

"It's going to be very difficult, as much as I accept it's what West Brom want and the FA have agreed to," he said.

"It would be dishonest to say it'll be easy to put this out of my mind.

"That's human nature. I have to balance the two things and will do so to the best of my ability.

"But England and the tournament will be occupying a lot of my thoughts in the time ahead."



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