Sunday 22 April 2018

Rows between Roy Hodgson and Gary Neville undermined England’s Euros challenge

Gary Neville was part of the England managerial team in France
Gary Neville was part of the England managerial team in France

Daniel Taylor

England's Euro 2016 campaign was undermined by a deterioration in the working relationship between Roy Hodgson and Gary Neville, and a series of disagreements among the coaching staff.

While the England players bonded well during the tournament, it has emerged there was friction behind the scenes when it came to Hodgson and members of his backroom staff. Although the relevant people all have considerable respect for one another, in the worst moments there was a clear divide about the team's methods and, in particular, signs of tension between Hodgson and Neville.

Others became involved, with Hodgson's methods openly being questioned by his own staff. "The players got on fine," said a source. "It was the coaches who fell out."

While the players were generally supportive of Hodgson and angered by reports that they questioned Raheem Sterling's selection in the Iceland game, the fact they took it upon themselves to remove Harry Kane from corner-taking duties indicates they were not always happy with the manager's tactics.

Hodgson's training methods - questioned by Steven Gerrard after the last World Cup - were one source of the disagreements. Neville had a close ally in Dave Watson, the goalkeeping coach. Players have complained of mixed messages and the confusion is not eased by the revelation that one turned to the dugout during the Iceland defeat and asked where a team-mate was supposed to be playing.

The revelations come on the same day the FA's chief executive, Martin Glenn, described his predecessors as "naive" for paying so much to previous England managers and made it clear the next appointment would be offered a performance-related salary.

Read more: England remain perennial flops

Hodgson's annual £3.5m pay meant he had the highest basic salary of all the managers at Euro 2016, though still considerably less than the £6m-a-year packages that were put in place for Fabio Capello and Sven-Goran Eriksson.

"I think we will pay a benchmark salary for the right person. To start off, it has to be results-orientated," Glenn said. "My view on these things is: take the emotion out of it, what are benchmark earnings for top-quality football management? To get a really good person, if they are currently earning £4m in a club, you have to be in that zone."

England will begin the new era with a friendly at Wembley on September 1, pencilled in against the Czech Republic, followed three days later by a game in Slovakia for the team's first World Cup qualifier. If an appointment has not been made before then it is still possible Gareth Southgate, the Under 21s manager, will be asked to fill in. Southgate is reluctant to be appointed as interim manager and, privately, the FA has admitted that decision has caught them on the hop, as they expected Southgate to jump at the chance.

Arsene Wenger has given the FA little encouragement and that leaves an extensive list of candidates that features Laurent Blanc, Roberto Martinez, Slaven Bilic and Jurgen Klinsmann, with Glenn Hoddle, Sam Allardyce, Steve Bruce and Eddie Howe leading the list of English options.


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