Roy Hodgson has told the Football Association that he would like to continue as England manager for another two years beyond next summer, taking the country into the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia.
Hodgson, who would be 71 if his tenure extends to the next World Cup, is understood to feel very upbeat about his future, and fit and ready to launch and lead a second such campaign, despite the disappointment of Brazil last year. The FA, who are happy with the job he is doing, are likely to be receptive if next summer’s European Championships in France go well, with qualification looking increasingly likely.
Hodgson’s contract runs up to the end of next summer’s finals and though the rules governing FA executive positions means that chairman Greg Dyke must step aside in 2017 - because he turns 70 then - the same limitations are understood not to apply to the manager.
The individuals in whose hands Hodgson’s England future lies are, as yet, uncertain. The FA is currently seeking a new chief executive who, along with Dyke and Dan Ashworth, the governing body’s director of elite development, will decide whether his contract is extended. The FA will not make a decision until the new chief executive is appointed. The job specification for that individual, who is expected to be named soon, includes an ability to help England potentially to win the 2022 World Cup. That will presumably need to be part of his calculation. Hodgson has a good relationship both with Dyke and Ashworth, who appointed him as manager at West Brom. Hodgson is expected to go to the 26 July World Cup draw in St Petersburg when speculation on his contract will come into sharper focus. Fifa’s official invitation to the event, extended to Hodgson and the chief executive, arrived today.
Weighing against a decision to stick with Hodgson until 2018 is the fact that the 2020 Euros are part-staged on English soil. For a Hodgson successor to begin work in the autumn of 2018, there may be inadequate time to prepare for a tournament which England cannot view as a competition for a squad in transition – as Hodgson did when he took the national team to the Poland/Ukraine Euros in 2012.
“At the moment I feel good and I don't feel anything like my age and I hope that will continue for a few more years,” Hodgson said recently. “I prefer to let the future take care of itself and see what develops from there so it's not something that occupies me at the moment.”