As soon as the final whistle sounded against Iceland, Roy Hodgson’s position as England manager became untenable.
His contract was due to run out anyway, and given Greg Dyke’s less than supportive comments earlier in the month about how Roy must reach the semi finals or at least play well and reach the quarters, it never looked likely that he would extend his reign.
The defeat to Iceland was nothing short of unacceptable, and will ensure Hodgson’s tenure as England manager goes down as a huge failure, despite qualifying for the tournament with 100% win rate.
Ten wins from ten – along with a favourable group in France – made people start to genuinely think the Three Lions could go far in the tournament, and at least be in with a shout of reaching the semi finals that would have kept Roy in a job for another two years.
But, in true England style, they bottled it, and now England must appoint a successor to lead a talented squad into the 2018 World Cup, in search of the success that has eluded them for so long.
When you look around at who’s available, there is no obvious candidate for the role.
Gareth Southgate was installed as the early favourite, but has now ruled himself out of the role on a full-time basis – presumably because he didn’t exactly fill the nation with confidence when the odds were revealed.
Arsene Wenger, Alan Pardew, Eddie Howe and a number of others have all been linked with the job, but England need a manager who will be suited to the international time frame, rather than day to day club life.
When the England group get together, there is only a limited period of time to get used to systems, formations and tactics, meaning any drastic changes are unlikely to work immediately.
Wenger’s slick passing style took years to perfect (and most would still admit that it’s not returned enough silverware), so implementing that into a squad of 23 ever-changing players would be a huge task.
Appointing Howe would be career suicide for the talented Bournemouth boss – he needs to continue his journey with the Cherries before even considering the biggest job in English football.
Pardew is lucky to even be in a job, never mind being linked with the national job, so he’s ruled out immediately.
What England need is a motivator, who is savvy and experienced enough to avoid the pitfalls that Hodgson fell into so often.
The former Liverpool manager went into a competition not knowing his best eleven players or formation, and it showed as England struggled to break down far inferior teams.
He also looked as though he was between sticking to his guns and playing the players who helped England breeze through qualification, and bowing to public pressure and crowbarring everyone who had a good season into one team.
Dele Alli had a poor tournament as he was shoved onto the left side of a diamond in midfield, somewhere he’s never played before and it showed, as he failed to link with Harry Kane up front.
Jamie Vardy was the first name on the public’s team sheet, but Hodgson omitted him in favour of Kane, who looked ineffective when playing with a partner.
For me, a good appointment would be someone who has been around the Premier League a long time, knows the English game well, but also has a style that England’s national team would benefit from.
The perfect man would be Sir Alex Ferguson.
Yes, he’s been out of the game for three years, but his appetite for the game certainly still seems to be there, given his attendance at most of Manchester United’s games last season.
He would get instant respect from his squad, given his achievements in the game and reputation as someone who doesn’t stand for any bullshit (Raheem Sterling, take note).
Fergie is 74, but Giovanni Trapattoni managed Ireland at the same age, proving that if the hunger for the game is still there, it can be done.
Another problem is that he’s Scottish, but having never managed internationally and England being a much more attractive prospect than Scotland, the Three Lions would be more tempting.
It’s a long shot for sure, but the FA aren’t blessed with many viable options, so with Fergie working with a backroom team that included the likes of Alan Shearer and Rio Ferdinand, it’s surely worth an ask.
Failing Fergie, motivation is the most important factor that England seem to be missing.
A motivated team is a dangerous team, just look what Iceland did with more hunger than talent. Now imagine what England could do with both.