England can exceed expectations at Euro 2012 predicts former manager Graham Taylor


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The Independent Football

Former England manager Graham Taylor believes Roy Hodgson can help England exceed expectations at Euro 2012 following his appointment in the top job.

Hodgson was unveiled yesterday as Fabio Capello's successor, having been selected ahead of Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp to the surprise of many observers.

The long-running nature of the appointment process has left Hodgson with, in his own words, "40 days and 40 nights" to prepare his team for this summer's tournament in Poland and Ukraine and the Football Association have been criticised by some over the uncertainty created.

"Everybody has a ready-made excuse to blame the FA, in terms of how they've handled it and how they've delayed it," Taylor told BBC Radio Five Live.

"I have this little feeling we might do well here. There is that lack of expectancy, there are reasons why it might be difficult, and I just feel that when you have that...I'm not going to say we will win the competition, because that would be silly, but I think we will do better than a lot of people think.

"I'm not so worried about the shortness of time, the fact he's only got 40 days, because the squads will be selected and it's the players who will perform."

Former England captain Steven Gerrard and Fulham chairman Mohamed Al Fayed are among those who have welcomed the appointment of Hodgson.

Gerrard worked with Hodgson during the 64-year-old's ill-fated spell in charge of Liverpool and has been tipped as a possible captain for this summer.

While fellow international midfielder Gareth Barry rather surprisingly admitted to Five Live "I don't really know too much about him", Gerrard said in a statement released to the Press Association: "I've worked with Roy. He's a good man and a good manager.

"It's important he's given a chance and I'm looking forward to working with him again."

Hodgson dodged a question yesterday over whether Gerrard would replace John Terry after he lost the skipper's armband over allegations he racially abused Anton Ferdinand in a league match earlier this season.

Terry faces a court case in July when he will answer the charges, which he denies.

Hodgson spent two-and-a-half years at Craven Cottage from December 2007 working under Al Fayed, during which time he guided his side to the Europa League final where they were beaten in extra-time by Atletico Madrid.

A statement on www.fulhamfc.com from Al Fayed read: "I send my warmest congratulations to Roy. I hope he does very well. He is the second manager I have given to England.

"Like the rest of the country, I and everyone at Fulham will be right behind Roy, the England team and the FA.

"We had some great times and he took us to our highest ever position in the top flight, seventh, and the final of the Europa League in 2010."

Stoke manager Tony Pulis believes Hodgson's vast experience will stand him in good stead.

He said: "He is a good coach and an experienced coach - he has worked at international level and the top level in England.

"I think Roy will understand that what he has to do now is win some games. If he wins a load of games, then he will be carried around England.

"If he doesn't, then obviously he will know what will come. Roy is experienced enough to know that."