David Bernstein tells new FA boss Greg Dyke to back England manager Roy Hodgson long term
Departing chairman insists Hodgson remains the right man to lead England
The departing Football Association chairman, David Bernstein, has said that he will tell his successor Greg Dyke to back Roy Hodgson and believes that the England manager and his team will qualify for the World Cup finals.
Bernstein, 70, has been obliged by the FA's own regulations to stand down next month because of his age, despite an attempt to change the rules that was blocked by the FA council.
Dyke, the former director-general of the BBC, takes up the role on 13 July with England's place in the 2014 World Cup finals still far from assured and four crucial qualifiers awaiting in September and October.
Hodgson was Bernstein's appointment and the two men have formed a close bond since then. The current England manager is contracted to take charge for next summer's World Cup finals and Euro 2016, qualification permitting, and Bernstein said that he believed that the FA had picked the right man for the job.
Asked whether he had faith in Hodgson, he answered: "Why shouldn't I? We thought it when we appointed Roy and it is still the case that he brings a lot of attributes to the job. His experience, his breadth of thinking and buying into the whole game. We are focusing on the England first team, but his interest in the wider development, in St George's Park and all the other things for the longer-term aspects of English football, he buys into all that.
"I think he has been a first-class appointment and I am very confident that he will bring us back to Brazil [for the World Cup next summer]. My successor will make his own mind up. He [Dyke] is clearly an experienced, strong-minded individual and he will make his own mind up. He will have picked up the vibes clearly. I have met with him and passed on that view to him so the answer to the question [to whether he will tell Dyke to back Hodgson] is 'yes'."
Bernstein said that in his view, players could only really consider themselves to have had "great" careers if their achievements at international level matched those at club level. He said that Hodgson would not return to those who had withdrawn their services, although it would appear that goalkeeper Ben Foster has been made an exception in that regard.
Bernstein said: "Every player is free to make up their own mind on what he wants to do. For my mind, if a player doesn't want to play for England with enthusiasm he shouldn't be on the agenda and I will of course support Roy and his opinion on that. It should be the greatest honour.
"We all know that great players can only achieve real greatness when they've done their thing at international level as well as club level. The Bobby Moores and Bobby Charltons, those great players of the past, are perceived as they are now, all these years later, because they were fine club players but magnificent players for their country.
"I can't speak for every individual player. People can do what they want to do. But I personally find it surprising that a top player wouldn't want to play for his country as long as he can. We have examples like Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard, both further down the road in their careers, but who have both shown an enormous passion and pride... if they haven't got that I don't think they should be there."
Although the next appointment will not be his, Bernstein said that he did not believe that an England manager should necessarily be English. "We should go for the best manager. On this occasion the best manager was English. It would be great if the best manager in the future was English as well. I do have a preference for an English manager. But I think England must have the best available manager. If he's English, that's great."
Bernstein said that he would consult with Dyke over the future of Under-21s coach Stuart Pearce, whose contract expires after the current European Championship.
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