England capable of reaching semi-finals, with or without Roy Hodgson claims Geoff Hurst


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The Independent Football

World Cup legend Sir Geoff Hurst has claimed England are capable of reaching the Euro 2012 semi-finals with or without Roy Hodgson as their new manager.

Hodgson arrived at Wembley this afternoon to attend a meeting with FA chairman David Bernstein and the remainder of the four-man Club England board to rubber-stamp his appointment as Fabio Capello's successor.

Providing there are no unforeseen hitches, Hodgson could even be confirmed as England's new boss this evening, just 24 hours after it was confirmed West Brom had been given permission to approach the 64-year-old.

There is still a sense of disbelief that Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp has been overlooked and Hurst is amongst those who felt Redknapp was the ideal candidate.

However, he does not believe Hodgson's appointment will have a negative impact on the overall aims in Poland and Ukraine this summer.

"Whether we had a manager or not, I still think we are capable of getting at least to the semi-finals," said Hurst.

"I don't see any reason why we can't get to that level and if we can, you never know what could happen.

"Roy has not been involved in the preparations to date and that's not ideal.

"When you have a manager in place quite a while before, the preparation is going to be very natural, as it was with us in 1966.

"But, in some respects, I see that as a positive. It might take the pressure off, certainly from the media and the fans, to be successful this year.

"That could be a good thing because expectation is huge on the manager and the players."

It is a sentiment echoed by England fans' spokesman Mark Perryman, although he does not believe the Three Lions have any chance of reaching the last four as Hurst has predicted.

That does not mean Perryman is against Hodgson's appointment.

Indeed, he thinks it is a good thing because the legend that has grown around Redknapp, including comparisons with the late Brian Clough, has irritated him somewhat.

"It is a ridiculous comparison," said Perryman.

"Harry Redknapp has been a manager for 30 years and won one FA Cup.

"Brian Clough won two European Cups and lots of other trophies besides.

"To link the two doesn't stand up at all. Clough was the greatest manager never to manage England. Harry is the populist choice, but so was Kevin Keegan and what an unmitigated disaster that turned out to be.

"Roy Hodgson will be a steady hand on the tiller.

"He took Fulham to the Europa League final, which was a magnificent achievement, and on the basis that the best three managers around just now, Marcelo Bielsa, Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho, wouldn't want the job, Hodgson is a good choice."

It is envisaged Hodgson will complete the Premier League season with West Brom before taking up his duties prior to the friendly in Norway on May 28.

Before that he is expected to name his 23-man Euro 2012 squad, possibly on May 10, the date stated by Stuart Pearce last week as the one set aside for that announcement.

Even with Hodgson sitting down to meet the men expected to be his new bosses, it is still hard to believe Redknapp is going to be overlooked given the widespread clamour for his services.

However, arriving at Tottenham's training ground this morning, Redknapp insisted he bore no grudge at the job going to someone else.

"I don't hold grudges, I don't feel like that," said Redknapp this morning.

"There's no problem. If Roy takes the job I wish him all the best. He's a great guy.

"I'm sure he'll be a big success.

"I still think England's got some great players, I really do.

"I think there's some fantastic players in this country, some young players coming through, some great experienced players.

"I'm looking forward to the European Championships, looking forward to watching it.

"Life couldn't be better, the sun's shining, my health is good, very lucky man."