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May 1, 2012 7:17 pm
Roy Hodgson was unveiled as the new England football manager at Wembley on Tuesday, promising to win over sceptics who viewed his appointment as a cautious choice ahead of the long-time favourite, Harry Redknapp.
The 64 year-old West Bromwich Albion manager was picked because of his experience, track record and “unquestionable” knowledge of international football, said David Bernstein, chairman of the Football Association.
But Mr Bernstein refused to discuss why Mr Redknapp, the Tottenham Hotspur manager who had received huge backing for the job from fans and players, was overlooked.
Mr Hodgson, who has coached clubs and countries over a 36-year managerial career, takes charge of England less than six weeks before the opening match against France in the European Championship.
He played down expectations, saying it would be “difficult” to achieve success at the tournament in Poland and the Ukraine because of the short preparation time.
“It's always a big job to win people over,” he said. “The only way you can win people over is by doing the job I am confident I can do.”
He replaces Fabio Capello, who quit in February after five years in charge over a dispute about the England captaincy. The FA took its time to make the appointment because it did not want to prise a manager from his club during a sensitive period in the domestic season.
Mr Hodgson has a four-year contract which puts him in charge of England’s qualification matches for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and the European Championship in 2016 in France.
Mr Bernstein, who has almost certainly been the decisive voice in the appointment of Mr Hodgson, said money was not a factor in the FA’s appointment. Mr Hodgson’s club contract expires at the end of this season, whereas choosing Mr Redknapp would have entailed compensating his club.
The FA chairman pointed out that Mr Hodgson was the first manager to be appointed to the England job with experience of international management, which included the 1994 World Cup and 1996 European Championship with Switzerland.
He has also coached Finland and the United Arab Emirates, while in club football he managed Liverpool and Inter Milan among other clubs.
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