It’s four years since Roy Hodgson took over as England manager. He leaves the job with an impressive win percentage of 58.93% and just eight defeats in the 56 matches he’s overseen. However his reign will be remembered for England’s embarrassing defeat at the hands of minnows Iceland, one of the greatest shocks in European Championship history. One of Hodgson’s biggest mistakes was his baffling team selection, something which eventually cost him his job.
Going into Euro 2016, there were a number of questions about who Hodgson could select. Marcus Rashford was the surprise choice up front for England, but the biggest decision came in midfield, where the 68-year-old defied all logic by picking Jack Wilshere.
Having not played a full 90 minutes for well over a year, the Arsenal man never looked fit, and lasted no longer than 45 minutes in any of the matches he played, performing well under-par. It made the decision to leave out Danny Drinkwater even more bizarre, considering he had played a big part of helping Leicester City to the most extraordinary Premier League title win. It seems inevitable he would have performed better than Wilshere if he was picked.
The squad selection was further called into question due to the system Hodgson deployed in the opening games of the tournament. Despite selecting five out-and-out strikers, the former Fulham manager played 4-3-3, with only one winger in the squad.
That winger was Raheem Sterling, another man who was short of football in the second of half of the season after being left out by Manchester City. Hodgson angered England fans up and down the country after selecting Sterling for matches against Wales and Iceland after a dreadful display against Russia in England’s opening game of the tournament.
Hodgson also chose to rest players for the final group stage match against Slovakia, despite England not having secured qualification to the final 16 of the tournament. The failure to beat Slovakia meant that the Three Lions finished second in the group, meaning they faced Iceland, and not a potentially easier tie against Northern Ireland.
The players have to take a large proportion of the blame for exiting the Euros to Iceland, but as football goes, the buck stops with the manager. It’s unfortunate, but Hodgson made too many mistakes as manager, and a failure to reach the quarter finals was always going to cost him his job.