'I'm hoping everyone will get behind the team' says new England manager Roy Hodgson
The FA have appointed Roy Hodgson as the new England manager.
The West Brom boss has signed a four-year deal which will take him to the end of Euro 2016 in France.
The FA confirmed their decision at 3pm today following four-hour long talks held yesterday and further discussions this morning between the 64-year-old and the four members of the Club England board charged with appointing a successor to Fabio Capello, who resigned in February.
Speaking at this afternoon's conference, Hodgson expressed his delight but was quick to call on the support of the fans.
"It is a very proud day for me, I'm a very happy man to be offered the chance to manage my country," he said.
"I'm looking forward to the task ahead. Everyone knows it is not an easy one but I'm hoping that everyone, fans and supporters will get behind the team.
"It's the team that counts, they go out and win football matches. What I'll do is try to make sure the team is well prepared for the challenge ahead. I'm really looking forward to it."
Since emerging as the FA's preferred choice, Hodgson has come under scrutiny from fans and some sections of the press. Asked if that scrutiny was something he had taken into consideration before accepting the role, Hodgson replied, "No."
Speaking about England's hopes at Euro 2012, Hodgson said: "I think England always have to go into tournaments to win them because we are a major football nation. The players would be disappointed if we didn't expect less of them than trying to win the tournament. It's always a big job to win people over and it's important first of all to have the chance."
The FA said that from a short-list of candidates, "Roy emerged as the outstanding candidate." They also confirmed that the decision to appoint Hodgson was a "unanimous" one.
Pushed to answer questions about Harry Redknapp, who was considered by many to be the favourite for the role, the FA refused to speak about individuals, although revealed there had been more than two names on the short-list.
"We decided a month ago that Roy Hodgson was the preferred candidate. This was not a two-man race. There were other candidates."
Sir Trevor Brooking, a member of the Club England board, said that the process of approaching a single manager "gives him [Hodgson] a really good platform." He also warned of the challenge ahead, telling the press conference: "It's going to be a tough job, whoever the manager is."
Hodgson himself said on the subject: "I've got great respect for Harry. He sent me a voicemail message. He's been very gracious. I hope we stay friends. We have unwittingly become rivals."
It was revealed at the press conference that the suggested date of May 10 to announce the squad for Euro 2012 had been put back.
Hodgson said: "It's going to be difficult, of course, but I've hopefully got a lot of time to think and a make decision [on the squad]. All players are pretty well known to me despite not having worked with many of them. It's important after this press conference to get down to work - we will put back announcing the squad until after the last game of the season so that I've done as much research and spoken to as many people as possible."
The FA also said that Hodgson's appointment was not based on financial motivations.
Questioning at the press conference led on some of the major issues dogging the national team, including the subject of John Terry's compatibility with Rio Ferdinand and the England captaincy.
"I think the important thing is for me to speak to as many people as possible and John and Rio will be two I need to speak to," said Hodgson.
On the captaincy he said: "That's another issue that we'll have to carefully think about. In the days ahead, it will be one of the things that I will have to look at."
Wayne Rooney is suspended for the first two games of Euro 2012, but it appears that Hodgson will be taking the Manchester United forward with him to Poland and Ukraine.
"I'm looking forward very much to Wayne Rooney coming to the Euros with us and his contribution, albeit that he can't play the first two games," he said.
One player he won't be taking to Poland and Ukraine is Jack Wilshere, who will miss the tournament through injury. Yet the Arsenal midfielder was the first England international to take to Twitter this afternoon to back the appointment.
"Not many have the experience that Roy Hodgson has - proved he is a top manager at international level so I don't see any reason why he can't do it. For England... good choice in my opinion! Good luck and I hope I can help him in some way in the future!"
Discussing the prospect of linking up with the squad, many of whom publicly backed Redknapp for the role, Hodgson appeared relaxed.
"Every coach has to win over players, it's part of your job," he said.
"It won't be the first time I'm meeting a group of players, many of whom I don't know, but given my CV and the work I've done over the years I don't have any problems with it.
"My job is to make certain that players are united behind the cause. Our cause is a very big one: we're England, it interests a lot of people.
"I'm expecting everyone in England to support their England football team and get behind the team and myself.
"What we'll be trying to do is give England the type of successful football team we've been looking for since 1966."
Hodgson's critics have pointed to his ill-fated six-month spell at Liverpool as cause for concern. At today's press conference, the former Fulham manager met the issue straight on.
"I'm prepared. The fact is I took it (pressure and criticism) at Liverpool and I'll take it here," he said.
"But the Liverpool chapter is in the past and I'm concentrating on the future. There are lots of other chapters in my past I could concentrate on if I wanted to that would put a smile on my face.
"(Former club) Inter, I would submit, wasn't exactly too easy when it comes to scrutiny and size of club.
"The England manager's job is the pinnacle of success for every English manager and it certainly brings with it a lot of scrutiny and criticism and I have to be prepared for that."
The FA statement released ahead of today's press conference read: "The Football Association is delighted to announce the appointment of Roy Hodgson as England manager.
"Joining from West Bromwich Albion, Hodgson has agreed a four-year deal to become the full-time manager of the Three Lions.
"Hodgson, aged 64, who has won a total of eight league titles in a distinguished career, and coached the national teams of Switzerland, Finland and the United Arab Emirates, met with FA officials at Wembley on Monday.
"Having taken Switzerland to the FIFA World Cup in 1994 - their first Finals competition for 28 years - Hodgson also achieved a FIFA ranking of third in the world as well as successfully qualifying the team for Euro 96.
"His former clubs include Inter Milan, Blackburn Rovers, Grasshoppers, FC Copenhagen, Fulham and Liverpool. He has also managed in Norway and Sweden.
"In addition, he has been a regular member of FIFA and UEFA's technical study groups at tournaments.
"Along with his vast experience of international and European football, Hodgson is the only English manager currently working in the top flight to have won the League Managers' Association manager of the year award."
This long-term appointment will see Hodgson manage the national team in Poland and Ukraine this summer, the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, and Euro 2016 in France.
Before he takes up the reigns full-time at Wembley, he must first see out the season at West Brom. The Midlanders have two Premier League games remaining, against Bolton and Arsenal. Although the FA have agreed that he will be released for England duties when required.
Baggies chairman Jeremy Peace said: "Roy's appointment as England manager is obviously disappointing news for the club as we would have liked him to sign a new contract, which was in the process of negotiation, and remain as our head coach.
"But we understand Roy's desire to take the England job and he will leave us after the Arsenal game on May 13 with our best wishes.
"Of course, with Euro 2012 around the corner, we appreciate that some of Roy's focus over the next 12 days will be on England matters.
"But we are delighted he will be seeing the season out with us.
"With the help of the coaching staff, he will prepare the team in his usual, meticulous manner as we finish what has already been a successful season."
West Brom players have been airing their support for their departing manager. Chris Brunt tweeted: "Congratulations to Roy Hodgson he will do a good job for England like he has done for us over last 18 month. Great coach and a good man."
While Steven Reid also took to Twitter to say: "Good luck to Roy Hodgson. Been a pleasure working with him. Brought the club forward massively!"
Follow Simon Rice on Twitter @simonrice
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