Roy Hodgson resigns as England boss after Iceland embarrassment

Four-year tenure ends with one of the most infamous defeats in English football history

England manager Roy Hodgson praises his squad as he and his coaching staff step aside following a defeat to Iceland at Euro 2016. Video: Reuters

 

Roy Hodgson has left his post as England manager following the national team’s shock 2-1 defeat by Iceland in their Euro 2016 last-16 tie on Monday evening.

Hodgson’s decision to quit comes as no surprise following England’s loss to a country competing at their first major tournament and with a population of just 329,000 – comparable to Coventry.

The coaches Ray Lewington and Gary Neville have also left the Football Association.

“I’m extremely disappointed of course about tonight’s result and ultimately our exit from the competition,” Hodgson said. “We haven’t progressed as far as I thought we were capable of, and that’s obviously not acceptable.

“I’m actually proud of the work my coaching staff and I have achieved over our time at the helm of England. The transition from the squad whose average age was 30 to now being the youngest in the tournament is both remarkable and exciting for the future of English football.

“I would have loved to stay on for another two years. However, I am pragmatic and I know we are in the results business. My contract was always up after the Euros, so now is the time for someone else to oversee the progress of this young, hungry and extremely talented group of players. They have been fantastic and have done everything that has been asked of them. When I arrived I was told players didn’t turn up to play for their country or that they pulled out at the last minute. I have not seen any of that. These players love to play for their country and their commitment has been unquestioned.

“Ray and Gary arrived with me as part of my coaching team and will leave with me. I’d like to thank them for their dedicated support and for the major part they’ve played in our team preparation. Finally I’d like to thank all the support staff, players, the FA and of course the fans. It’s been a fantastic journey, these four years, and it’s one I’ll look back on or remember with pride.

“Finally I’d like to thank the media for the support you’ve given me over the four years. I’m sorry it’s had to end this way with another exit from the tournament. These things happen. All I can do is wish everybody all the very best and hope that you will still be able to see an Egland team in a final of a major tournamenet fairly soon. We’ve been unable to deliver. Thank you very much.”

The defeat by Iceland is arguably the most embarrassing in England’s history and also extended Hodgson’s poor record at major tournaments since he succeeded Fabio Capello in May 2012. Across Euro 2012, the 2014 World Cup and these championships, the 68-year-old oversaw just three victories in 11 matches, with England’s exiting a World Cup at the group stages for the first time since 1958 when they competed in Brazil two years ago.

Hodgson’s team selections have come under scrutiny during the current tournament, especially his decision to make six changes to the team that faced Slovakia in the final Group B match last week. England subsequently drew 0-0, a result that saw them finish second, behind Wales, and drop into the tougher-looking part of the knockout draw. Senior officials at the FA were also happy for it to be known that they were concerned by the manager’s sweeping changes to the team that had beaten Wales 2-1 in their second group match on 16 June.

Getting Iceland as a last-16 opponent felt like a let-off but they have instead proven to be another opponent who England should but could not overcome at a major tournament. Not surprisingly, Hodgson has paid with his job.

The former West Browmich Albion manager leaves England with an impressive qualifying record and having given a host of exciting young players, including Dele Alli, Harry Kane and Marcus Rashford, their international debuts. But his record at major tournaments was poor, with defeat to Iceland an outcome that made his position untenable.

(Guardian service)

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