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Hodgson For England, Gerrard's Return, and Other Tuesday Notes

roy hodgson england disaster

Roy Hodgson doesn't like to bring up his time at Liverpool. He also doesn't like to speculate about taking on the England job once Fabio Capello steps down after next summer's European Championships. Just ask him and he'll tell you, before launching into a discussion about his former job at Liverpool and a potential future one leading England's national side...

* With Capello set to leave after the upcoming Euros, talk in some quarters has begun to shift to possible successors. And given that for some there was always a reluctance to accept that Hodgson's failure at Liverpool was largely self-inflicted, it was inevitable that a show of borderline competence at West Brom would see his name brought back into the conversation (HT: Ryan):

I would rather hope that, if I was ever going to be offered the England job, it would be with the backing of the important people. That would be the media, who represent the fans and, of course, the fans. Otherwise it's very difficult for anyone who takes the job because, even if you've got the competence and you are maybe the 'right person,' you need to be perceived as the right person. And the perception of my Liverpool appointment was not right and, as a result, you end up paying for it.

As always with Hodgson, self-examination is off limits and it's always somebody else's fault: He didn't fail at Liverpool because his methods were incompatible, he failed because others didn't think he was the right man for the job and so weren't willing to give him enough time for those failing methods that were completely at odds with the club and its players to stop completely failing. Sounds like a perfect fit for the English FA and the palaeolithic portions of the punditry who refuse to seriously take stock of the problems with the game at a national level. At least if agrarian maestro Stuart Pearce doesn't manage to turn his unjustifiable contract extension with the English u21s into a promotion to managing the senior side ahead of him.

To wrap things up, after once again saying that he was happy at West Brom and didn't want to speculate on the future, he went on to talk about his years of experience with big clubs around Europe and how it would be naive of the English FA to pick somebody who isn't English to succeed Capello since that's what the fans want. But he really wouldn't want to speculate about that English person maybe being him, nudge nudge wink wink.

* Back in Liverpool, Kenny Dalglish has said that despite the massive investment already seen this summer and a squad bulging rather uncomfortably in places as it puts its hands on its hips and looks around skeptically, the owners have in fact encouraged him to spend more before the close of the current window, and to do so without worrying if any of that dead weight can be offloaded.

“I’m not under pressure to sell," said the manager. "We are under more pressure to get somebody in. The owners have been fantastic and there is no pressure in any way, shape, or form.”

Questions as to just who that somebody might be will no doubt now abound, though one would have to put the smart money on it being a centre back.

* Is it Hull or is it Swansea? In the end it's neither, as Daniel Ayala completes his long-rumoured sale but instead of the previously rumoured targets heads to Premier League newcomers Norwich City, who of course have had experience with another Spanish Liverpool player last season when they took Dani Pacheco on loan.

The Canaries have even their club's basic newsfeed behind a paywall, leaving LFCtv's rather terse "the deal is done subject to relevant paperwork being completed" statement of two days ago as the closest thing to an official confirmation. Still, by all accounts this in fact is now a completely done deal, with the defender expected to be ready to face Stoke City with his new club on the weekend.

* And finally, after a summer of setbacks and uncertainty when it comes to Steven Gerrard and his troubled groin, news has begun to leak out that he is expected to return to light training this week, on schedule for the mid-September return date set out by the club when news that infection due to complications of surgery would force him to miss at least the start of the season first surfaced. After his injury troubles over the past few seasons and with the way the club invested in midfielders this summer, there will be reason to doubt Gerrard's long-term status until he actually returns to match fitness and manages a solid stretch of action in the Premier League. Still, on the back of recent news that the infection had been sorted and his recovery was back on track, it's one more positive step towards the possibility that a healthy Steven Gerrard (and his groin) might be something more than a pipe dream.

We'll be back later to see if we can find another topic to rile people up as much as the earlier Jordan Henderson discussion, but in the meantime, have a bit of distraction from groins and managers that have been around, if you know what I mean…

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