Roy Hodgson sets England agony aside and vows to rescue Crystal Palace

Roy Hodgson insists he has got over the disappointment of the way his reign as England manager ended and that the defeat by Iceland never once led to him questioning his abilities.

The 70-year-old will on Saturday oversee his first fixture as Crystal Palace manager, when they host Southampton in the Premier League.

It comes 14 months after Hodgson resigned from the England job following their elimination from Euro 2016.

He recognises the division has “evolved” in the five years since he was last a Premier League manager, but Hodgson remains “absolutely” convinced he will lead Palace to safety come May.

“Matches do get lost when you’re a football coach, particularly in tournament football and the tournament is over,” Hodgson said of the Iceland defeat, which came to define his four years with England.

“I enjoyed my time with England: a huge honour. I have very good memories of those times, the people and players I worked with. But it’s over. That time has gone. That chapter is finished. I’m focused on the next one: Crystal Palace, Crystal Palace, Crystal Palace.

“Careers are defined by small moments. Nothing I can say or do will change that. It was a four-year period; one I look back on with satisfaction on a lot of things. But I can’t look back with satisfaction with not progressing at tournaments in the way we’d have liked.

“It’s a chapter that’s finished, in the past as far as I’m concerned, and now it’s a chapter in the book of life opening for me, and one I’m looking forward to. One I’m hoping brings joy to the fans of Crystal Palace. That would be special because I am a Croydon boy and didn’t leave here until I was 24 years of age.

“I believe the team will stay up. Absolutely. I wouldn’t have taken the job if I didn’t believe that, or that me and my coaching staff would be the people to do that.

“There’s never been any doubt in my mind. It could be a good year if it ends up with Palace in the Premier League and the fans happy: that would make me very happy.”

Hodgson this week signed a two-year contract to succeed Frank de Boer after the Dutchman was sacked having lost his four Premier League games as manager.

The veteran manager has previously succeeded in inspiring both Fulham and West Brom to safety.

He also joined each at far later stages of the season, and he has Ruben Loftus-Cheek and James Tomkins fit for the visit of Southampton.

“(With) Fulham I had 18 games, West Brom 12 games,” Hodgson said. “This is a 34-game season. We’ve had a bad start, and we’ve handicapped ourselves by not taking any points from the first four games. But our focus is really on May, not the end of September. Leagues aren’t won or teams relegated in September.

“Everything evolves. The Premier League gets bigger and bigger. We are the league where the top players want to play, a league that generates the top money, and a league where the top managers want to work. There has been an evolution in the right way.”

Source: PA

Published at Fri, 15 Sep 2017 14:53:56 +0000