England’s Euro 2012 squad will be announced soon, with Roy Hodgson expected to name John Terry and Rio Ferdinand among his 23 players
The appointment of Roy Hodgson has inevitably led to the same old questions being posed. Will Steven Gerrard or Scott Parker be given the armband or will someone else? And can the Liverpool man forge a partnership with Frank Lampard at the hundredth time of asking? Hannah Duncan tries to find the answers.
Few would have expected Roy Hodgson to be announced as the new England manager this week. It's almost less of a surprise that it's Hodgson and more of a shock that the FA managed to keep it quiet for so long. But 'Uncle Woy' it is and it's fair to say he's received a mixed reaction since his unveiling this week.
Some say he lacks the big club experience and that he'll just be an FA 'yes man', but many former players, managers and press have come out in support of his appointment and not only that, but the West Brom manager is the first man to be given the England job having had previous international experience.
But despite his previous forays onto the international scene, having guided Switzerland to fourth in the FIFA World Rankings and taking charge of both Finland and the United Arab Emirates, does he realise what he has in store with one of the most high-pressured jobs in the game?
His most pressing demand, after ignoring any of The Sun's childish headlines, is to resolve the John Terry-Rio Ferdinand spat. Ideally, Hodgson will want to take both to the Euros, but unless he gets them both acting like adults he may have to sacrifice one, if not both.
Terry is currently at 1.26 on Betfair
to be in the Euro 2012 squad, with Ferdinand's place slightly less certain at 1.42.
Following on from that, he needs to select a captain. Presumably part of his talks with the FA will have involved him not being allowed to give Terry the armband back. So who will be his man? Steven Gerrard was unsurprisingly his captain during his short tenure on Merseyside, but if reports are to be believed, the two weren't exactly bosom buddies, though Gerrard is the favourite on Betfair at 2.42 to succeed Terry full-time, with interim skipper Scott Parker at 3.15.
Hodgson is also the latest in a long line of England managers to have to fathom out the Lampard-Gerrard conundrum. The Chelsea man is at 1.11 for Euro 2012 inclusion, while Gerrard is at 1.05, both fairly certain bets. And now with Lampard operating in a slightly deeper role for his club, maybe Hodgson can re-enact this position for country as well and finally enable the two to successfully play side by side.
But there have also been several calls for Paul Scholes to be coaxed out of international retirement after the influential half-season he's enjoyed at Old Trafford. Scholes hasn't pulled on an England shirt since Euro 2004, but although he's a 3.25 outside bet to go to Poland and Ukraine this summer, if Sir Alex Ferguson can get him to return to Manchester United, maybe he'll have a second stab at his international career too.
Since the announcement of Hodgson as the new England boss, it's been difficult to judge the public's expectancy levels. He's not as popular a choice as Redknapp, but any lowering of demands can only be a good thing, especially leading up to a major tournament, the likes of which England are always expected to win at a canter.
England are 2.84 second-favourites to top Group D behind France and 11.5 to win the whole tournament, behind just Spain, Holland and Germany.
If he can guide England safely out of Group D and begin building for the World Cup in 2014, Hodgson should certainly have a good crop of youngsters emerging over the duration of his four-year contract, including the PFA Young Player of the Year Kyle Walker, Arsenal's Jack Wilshere and Chelsea's Josh McEachran.
But it'll be one step at a time for the former Inter, Blackburn and Fulham boss - the first home-grown England manager to never play professional football - and if the press, public and players can get behind him, he may well make a success of it.