A lot can change in a year. This time 12 months ago, Roy Hodgson’s exciting young England side reversed a two-goal deficit to claim a dramatic 3-2 win over Germany in Munich.
Fast-forward to June, however, and England were dumped out of Euro 2016 after a humiliating last-16 loss against minnows Iceland. The 2-1 humbling in Nice was widely regarded as one of the Three Lions’ worst ever losses – and one that proved the final nail in the coffin of Hodgson’s four-year England reign.
Now, on the eve of another England visit to face World Cup winners in Germany under new boss Gareth Southgate, Hodgson has spoken publicly for the first time since resigning as national team boss in a candid and wide-ranging interview with The Big Issue.
Here are five things we learned from the conversation…
1. The former Fulham, Liverpool and England boss had not re-watched England’s defeat to tournament debutants Iceland since resigning.
“I consign it to history. I don’t need to watch it, I have a perfectly good idea of what happened and why it happened.”
2. He believes his England legacy should be his nurturing of young talent. However, despite leading England to a perfect qualifying campaign for Euro 2016, acknowledges that the proof is in the pudding and he’ll be judged for his lack of international silverware.
“I certainly didn’t feel suicidal [after the Iceland defeat] and I certainly didn’t feel self-doubt either because I think probably the four years, especially the last two years after the World Cup, fashioning a team from a very young group of players, many of whom weren’t even in their club side, and playing the sort of football we were capable of playing – we were playing very, very well.
“I am very, very proud of that achievement. I think it is probably the best work, in many ways, that I did or have done so far. But of course, any work you do as a sporting person, a football coach or any coach, if it is good work you’ve got to have something – a championship – to show for it.”
3. Hodgson rejects the fierce criticism he faced for his controversial decisions to put star striker Harry Kane on corners at Euro 2016, and in making six changes from the side that beat Wales for the costly Slovakia stalemate.
“They are nonsense. People should be ashamed of those things. Why shouldn’t Harry Kane take corners? If he happens to be the best striker of a ball in the team and gives you the best delivery why shouldn’t he do it? And the ‘six’ changes are actually four changes from the team who were on the field at the end of the game against Wales. Questions would have been asked if I’d left out Jamie Vardy and Daniel Sturridge after they came on as substitutes at half-time and scored [against Wales]. I was totally uninterested in those type of comments, which I regard as purely irrelevant and dishonest. No one whose opinion I respect would have said anything like that, otherwise I would have heard about it.”
4. He’s not a dancer. The 69-year-old revealed that he turned down an invitation from the BBC to compete in Strictly Come Dancing following his resignation as England manager.
“I’d have been another Ed Balls! I’ve never regarded myself as a celebrity, I have regarded myself as a professional football manager, a job which I have done for many years and think I do well. I’m quite proud of my achievements. But I don’t think that lifts me into the celebrity world.”
5. Having already managed teams in Sweden, Switzerland, Italy, Denmark, United Arab Emirates, Norway and Finland, he’s happy to move abroad for his next football job if opportunity knocks.
“It doesn’t matter, home or abroad. It’s only my wife and me, our son is in America and we are not tied to this country like a lot of people are through family. We are pretty independent. If something comes up abroad we can go. There is no other job for me. It’s a bit late in the day to start becoming a shopkeeper!”