Hodgson can talk to England

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The Independent Online

Roy Hodgson yesterday thanked his club, FC Copenhagen, for giving him permission to listen any approach about the job of England coach.

Roy Hodgson yesterday thanked his club, FC Copenhagen, for giving him permission to listen any approach about the job of England coach.

The former Blackburn manager, who guided Switzerland to the 1994 World Cup finals, says he has heard nothing from the Football Association about whether he is on their three-man short-list to succeed Kevin Keegan.

He admitted, however, to being grateful after the sports director of FC Copenhagen, Niels-Christian Holmstrom, conceded that the club would not stand in Hodgson's way if the FA did want to talk to him. "That's very nice," he said. "It's an extremely sporting gesture on their part."

As to whether Hodgson figures on the shortlist, supposedly along with the Arsenal manager, Arsÿne Wenger, who yesterday ruled himself out at least until 2002, and the Lazio coach, Sven Goran Eriksson, he added: "That's quite possible but I really don't know. I have had a lot of enquiries from the media in England, people who seem to be reasonably well informed, but I know nothing more than you about it. I have tried to say that I think it is presumptuous to talk about jumping at chances or not wanting jobs when there's no guarantee that I am even being considered.

"I have to await the phone call and wait and see what was said in that phone call. There is the further complication that I am under contract with a club here in Copenhagen who are not terribly anxious to get rid of me."

Hodgson told BBC Radio 4: "There are complications along the line and it would be a little bit facile to say I would jump at the chance. I can only repeat it is very nice to be mentioned and I am honoured, but at the same time I am presuming nothing and I am not even presuming I am one of the candidates."

Liverpool's Swiss defender Stéphane Henchoz believes that Hodgson, his former international coach, can improve England's fortunes. Henchoz was a key figure in Hodgson's Switzerland side that surprisingly reached Euro 96, as well as playing under him when he was manager at Blackburn Rovers.

The 26 year-old, who has won 40 caps, said yesterday: "With the players he would have at his disposal in England, he would be able to make England one of the best teams in the world. I only went to Euro 96 with Roy, I was not in the squad when he took Switzerland to the World Cup in the USA, but he was outstanding in getting the best out of a limited number of players."

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