Roy Hodgson says priority is to sort out John Terry-Rio Ferdinand saga

New England manager given four-year deal and admits there are thorny issues to deal with

Roy Hodgson said yesterday that one of his first tasks as England manager was to resolve any potential differences between John Terry and Rio Ferdinand over the race case involving the latter's brother Anton that threatens to divide the squad ahead of the European Championship.

The West Bromwich Albion manager signed a four-year contract at Wembley yesterday, having recognised that there was an "unbelievable" amount of work to be done in the "40 days and 40 nights" before England play their first game of Euro 2012 against France in Donetsk.

Central to that will be discovering whether Rio Ferdinand can play alongside Terry, who is in court on 9 July to answer the charge of racially aggravated abuse against Ferdinand's brother Anton. Hodgson said yesterday that he would try to speak to the two players in advance of him naming the squad for the European Championship on 14 May.

Hodgson said: "I'll have to get in touch with John and Rio to speak with them, hopefully face to face, and find out where they are in this situation. And not just those two. I'll have to speak to as many senior players as I can. Until such time as I've actually spoken to them and found out where they stand in relation to the current situation, it would be wrong of me to comment."

The Football Association chairman, David Bernstein, refused even to discuss other candidates for the job, and did not mention Harry Redknapp, the previous favourite for the post, by name in either of his two press conferences yesterday. He said that the four men on the Club England board came to their decision one month ago but left their official approach to West Bromwich until last weekend because they believed the club would have blocked any attempt to speak to Hodgson before then.

Hodgson said that he had great "empathy" for Redknapp's situation but that the Tottenham Hotspur manager, who was overlooked for the job, would not want his sympathy. In a nod to the popular support for Redknapp, Hodgson said that he would "have to be on another planet not to be aware" of the situation he found himself in as the surprise choice for the job.

Hodgson confirmed that he would take Wayne Rooney to Euro 2012 despite the Manchester United striker being suspended for the first two games of the tournament. He also strongly hinted that he would pick just 23 players on 13 May to take to the pre-tournament camp in Marbella instead of the approach of his predecessor, Fabio Capello, who took 30 away before the last World Cup finals and cut seven of them. Hodgson will stay in charge of West Bromwich for their final two games of the season.

There was no confirmation that the caretaker Stuart Pearce would continue to be involved as a coach. Nor did Hodgson give any clues as to his early thoughts on who his captain might be. Bernstein said that there were no break clauses in his four-year contract that would – depending on qualification – take in this summer's European Championship, the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil and Euro 2016 in France.

Addressing the issue of his nine unhappy months as Liverpool manager, Hodgson said that there was "one major difference" between his time at the club and this latest appointment. "The people at Liverpool who appointed me didn't have a chance to stay very long and others took over the club," he said. "The FA had a lot of time to decide which candidate they wanted to do the job, and I'm happy it was me."

The closest Bernstein came to mentioning Redknapp or any other candidate was when he admitted there were "easier appointments" to make than Hodgson, but that his chairmanship would largely be judged on the success of this decision. "One of the most important decisions a chairman and board can make is the appointment of a manager, and I won't have too many stabs at this," Bernstein said. "I hope this is my only appointment as that would be a great sign of success. We all stand and fall together on this."

Hodgson was asked by a television reporter why he broke the sporting boycott of apartheid South Africa by playing there between 1973 and 1974 for club side Berea Park, a sure sign of the far greater level of scrutiny the England manager is subject to in comparison to his counterparts.

"I was young at the time, and went there purely for football reasons," Hodgson said. "I was desperate to play football on a full-time basis... I was anti-apartheid, but there's not much we could have done about it. We all thought it was an evil regime."

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran
The young are the new poor: A third of young people pushed into poverty

The young are the new poor

Sharp increase in the number of under-25s living in poverty
Greens on the march: ‘We could be on the edge of something very big’

Greens on the march

‘We could be on the edge of something very big’
Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby - through the stories of his accusers

Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby

Through the stories of his accusers
Why are words like 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?

The Meaning of Mongol

Why are the words 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?
Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible