West Bromwich hand Hodgson a rapid return to the dugout

Roy Hodgson had 16 different jobs in his first 31 years in management, only two of them in England.

This week he will take up his third post in as many years in his native country when he succeeds Roberto Di Matteo at West Bromwich Albion. It seems the wanderer has returned home.

Hodgson's brief will be the same as it was at Fulham three years ago: retain Premier League status. Ostensibly the task appears much easier. Fulham were in dire trouble when Hodgson took up the reins and slipped deeper into the mire as the team struggled to adapt from Lawrie Sanchez's direct style of football to Hodgson's possession-based one. At the Hawthorns he inherits a team which is yet to drop into the relegation zone this season and already plays a passing game. However, Albion have won one and lost eight of their last 10 games and last kept a clean sheet in August, against Leyton Orient.

That should change under Hodgson who specialises in making teams hard to beat, something which did not find favour at Liverpool, who he joined from Fulham in the summer after steering the London club to the final of the Uefa Cup. That earned him legendary status at Craven Cottage, albeit slightly soured by his departure, but expectations are much higher at Anfield. Hodgson's inability to produce either consistent results, or attractive performances, meant he quickly lost favour with the supporters. Injuries to Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher, and the disaffection of Fernando Torres, were dismissed by a fan base still pining for Rafael Benitez and with an instinctive preference for Kenny Dalglish who had also applied for the post. After a very difficult six months the 63-year-old was fired.

That was five weeks ago and Hodgson, who has signed a contract at West Bromwich to June 2012, said: "It was not my intention to return this quickly but I was so impressed by the way the chairman [Jeremy Peace] and [sporting & technical director] Dan Ashworth sold the project to me that I was very happy to accept the offer."

The mention of Ashworth is significant. One of Hodgson's attractions to Peace is his preparedness to work alongside an executive with Ashworth's recruitment brief, and experience of doing so.

Peace said: "At such a vital stage of the season, we felt it was important we identified and appointed the right man as quickly as possible. Roy emerged as the outstanding and unanimous choice. We believe his vast experience and knowledge of the game is exactly what we need for the challenge we face, both in the short and long-term."

Hodgson's first match will be next Sunday, against their local rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers. Albion's match against West Ham United today will be overseen by the coach Michael Appleton.

While Albion expect to have Marek Cech and Graham Dorrans available after groin and ankle problems, West Ham have more injury concerns with the news that last month's signing Robbie Keane could be out until April. Their vice-chairman, Karren Brady, said yesterday, "It might not be as long as six weeks, but it may be longer." She added of Keane, who scored on his debut at Blackpool: "We brought him in to make a difference and he already has done."

With James Tomkins and Matthew Upson doubtful, and Danny Gabbidon injured, Avram Grant may have only two fit centre-halves, Manuel da Costa and Winston Reid.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Extras
The Tesco Hudl2: An exceptional Android tablet that's powerful, well-built and outstanding value
indybest

Life and Style
food + drinkAuthor DBC Pierre presents his guide to the morning after
Sport
Two christmas trees ,Moonbeam (2L), Moonchester (2R) and Santa Claus outside the Etihad Stadium
footballAll the action from today's games
News
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Life and Style
food + drink
News
i100
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.

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas