Former England manager Glenn Hoddle insists he would not take the Under-21’s job unless the Football Association made changes by allowing the country’s best young players to compete at major international tournaments.
Coach Stuart Pearce’s future is in major doubt following England’s embarrassing exit from the Under-21’s European Championship where they failed to win a single point in their three group games, and Hoddle has been linked with the role should the seemingly inevitable happen that Pearce’s contract isn’t renewed.
Pearce made the point that his job was made much harder due to the unavailability of players such as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Danny Welbeck, Phil Jones and Jack Rodwell due to their role with the senior team’s friendlies with the Republic of Ireland and Brazil.
Queens Park Rangers manager Harry Redknapp had his say on the matter yesterday when he called for Hoddle to be appointed the next Young Lions coach should the FA decide that a change is needed, but Hoddle admitted he would not be interested unless he had the best players at his disposal.
Speaking to talkSPORT, Hoddle said: “It wouldn’t (interest me) unless they changed the rules. Why would anyone be interested when you are taking your weapon away, when your better players aren’t going to be there with you?
“I feel sorry for Stuart Pearce. Whoever takes the job, or continues to do the job, why would they take it if you are not going to get your best players?
“It’s like a boxer going in to the ring with one arm tied behind his back”
Hoddle reflected on how the experience of featuring in an international tournament would’ve benefitted those players that featured in the friendlies, and he also looked at those playing regularly for England compared to those not yet established in the side.
“Getting to the final (of the U21 Euros), that experience would outweigh anything like a 10-minute substitution at senior level.
“Norway had four players join them from the senior squad. That’s what we have got to do. If we had got to the final it would have given us a lift and if we have our strongest team there I think we’ve got a real chance.
“If the players are (regularly) playing senior internationals then of course they aren’t going to go, but there are a lot of players who should have gone and the FA really have to look at themselves and change the rules.
“They have to be much stronger when it comes to the tournament time.”
Hoddle also believes that whoever is in charge should work with Roy Hodgson within the Under-21’s set-up, mimicking the situation that would arise at club level.
"The senior coach needs to be in and around the camp at Under-21 tournaments, not picking the team, but taking a few sessions like you would do at your club with the reserve side, you observe them in training and you learn about people's character on and off the pitch.
"The players' motivation levels would go up too because they would be closer to the full team, and that's what this is all about."