Ian Herbert: It is not fair, but Anfield experience will always haunt Roy Hodgson
England have been here before, with Roy Hodgson.
When Sir Alex Ferguson, of all people, was pointing them in Sven Goran Eriksson's direction after Kevin Keegan's dramatic departure, 12 years ago, he was one of the English names on the huge, blank piece of paper Adam Crozier pinned to a wall for the selection committee's consideration in Helsinki, where the national side happened to be playing a World Cup qualifier. Hodgson fell at the first hurdle – failing what Crozier considered to be the "sustained success" test.
It is the very test which will stalk him into Wembley if he is handed the England job. Because although Hodgson has achieved more than Andre Villas-Boas in European football over the past two years – taking a club of Fulham's means to a Europa League final being a finer achievement than reaching that pinnacle with Porto – history will damn him again and again with one word. Anfield. Well, his record there may have marked him down as a "small club manager" in many eyes but in this season of relentless revisionism, when managers are built up and knocked down, history judges Hodgson's 191 days at Liverpool rather differently now.
The man whose head they all called for when "Hodgson Out" graffiti was being daubed on the exterior walls of Melwood and what Hodgson injudiciously described as "the famous Anfield support" was offering him ironic applause, can be viewed as rather less of a failure in the light of Kenny Dalglish's travails, with a considerably bigger Fenway Sports Group transfer budget. Hodgson won six league games at Anfield before he was sacked in January last year. Now here we are in April with Dalglish still seeking his sixth home win of the season. Certainly, Dalglish knows the nuances and history of the club and its supporters. He speaks of Shankly and does not play the long ball in a way so alien to the club's fabric. But as one observer put it after the 64-year-old Hodgson's West Bromwich Albion won at Anfield two weeks ago, Liverpool's stagnation "was once called 'The Hodgson Effect'. Nowadays, it is just called bad luck."
Keegan actually called it right. "It's not easy but Liverpool have been in decline for a number of years and I think Roy Hodgson is just picking up the tab," he said. "Where are all these youngsters they signed? None of them have come through. I think there are a lot of questions that need to be asked way beyond Roy Hodgson."
My only discussion of any length with Hodgson, talking Paris, Liverpool architecture, Steve Coogan's and Rob Brydon's BBC series The Trip four months into his Liverpool journey, revealed a man just starting to grow into Anfield. His dismissal cut him and it was a mark of him that he put it behind him, took West Bromwich to safety and might now lead them to their first top-10 finish in the Premier League.
Some will doubt the potential of his 4-4-2 systems to enervate either fans or his players. Others will crave the mass appeal of Harry Redknapp, a man with the word for every occasion. More still will point to failure at Blackburn Rovers and mixed results at Internazionale. But at least let the true, unvarnished story of Hodgson and Liverpool be heard. That of a de facto caretaker, asked to shepherd a club through the uncertainty of a messy takeover, who imbued Anfield with Raul Meireles, as well as Paul Konchesky and Christian Poulsen. At least then Hodgson gets half a chance to pursue sustained success with England.
Norway (a) 26 May, friendly
Belgium (h) 2 June, friendly
Euro 2012 group stage
France 11 June
Sweden 15 June
Ukraine 19 June
Latest in Sport
Paul Scholes: Manchester City paid the price for not dealing with Barcelona's Sergio Busquets
Arsenal vs Monaco: Theo Walcott 'involved in spat' with fans after Champions League defeat
Paul Scholes: Jose Mourinho's attempt to influence football's decision-makers is not working. In fact, it may have backfired
Piers Morgan 'hurt' after Arsenal legend Bob Wilson questions his support for the Gunners and labels him a 'pompous individual'
Brooklyn Beckham to be released: Why Arsenal could regret letting David Beckham's son depart
- 1 Scarlett Johansson new band 'already hit with legal complaint' from another The Singles
- 2 Husband and wife die holding hands within hours of each other after 67 years of marriage
- 3 What color is The Dress, white and gold or blue and black? An eyewitness gives a definitive answer
- 4 The remarkable archaeological underwater discovery that could open up a new chapter in the study of European and British prehistory
- 5 'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Oscars 2015: Birdman beats Boyhood as Eddie Redmayne and Patricia Arquette win big - as it happened
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
Half of Ukip voters say they are prejudiced against people of other races
'Cash for access' scandal: Sir Malcolm Rifkind says 'unrealistic' for MPs to live on £67,000 salary
Aqsa Mahmood branded a 'disgrace' by her parents after claims she recruited three UK girls flying to Middle East
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit