Ex Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson has admitted to the pain caused by Liverpool sacking, but feels that being the man in-charge of taking England to the World Cup has been the best possible consolation.
Roy Hodgson, present England national manager, was sacked in January 2011 by Liverpool and admits that he will never quite get past it:
“Nothing dismisses memories like that. I was sad about it, of course, but it can happen when the people who appoint you are replaced by new owners.
“I knew when I took the job that the club was in a period of transition. I realised it might not be easy just to walk in and wave a magic wand to turn it around.
“New owners come in and they might have other ideas. I’m still sad about the situation. I went to Liverpool thinking it would be a long-term job and maybe it could take me to the end of my career. But, strangely enough, ironically if you like, it’s now led to me being England manager. So maybe now I don’t quite have the same regrets.
“It’s also important to remember the bad times as well as the good times. Sometimes the bad times are the ones that teach you the most.
“So I shall never feel satisfied or happy about the situation, because I went there with the intention of helping to build up the club like I’ve now seen it built up.I wasn’t able to do that, which I regret, but I’m just fortunate that what has come up since has been good for me.”
The 66 year old went on to manage West Brom after that and guided the Baggies to a tenth place at the end of the 11-12 season, the club’s top flight finish since 1981. He was appointed England manager after Fabio Capello resigned from the post.
The ex- Fulham boss says that reaching the final stage of the World Cup is a huge deal for the country and that thinking that Champions League is more attractive than the World Cup is of erroneous nature:
“Just the sheer weight of numbers associated with the World Cup motivates you and makes you realise what you have achieved through qualifying. We had to get here – that was so important. Then suddenly you get off a plane here and see all the signs everywhere, you see all the people from all the different countries and all the entourages of all the teams.
“Then you see the mass media and you realise literally billions of people have been waiting for this draw. Suddenly, you think, ‘Crikey, I’m one of the actors on the biggest stage you can get in football’ – and that’s where you want to be. The importance of international football is played down at times because we do like the Champions League. But what brought it home to me was our quarter-final against Italy in the Euros last year, when the match broke all records for TV viewing.
The England boss has also not played down his team’s chances because of a difficult group the three lions have been drawn with and has said that Steven Gerrard, Wayne Rooney and Daniel Sturridge are as big a threat as Luis Suarez:
“It’s a fantastic group – a hell of a group with top teams right the way through. Costa Rica aren’t as well known as the other two but are going to be very difficult to play against, too. Italy and Uruguay are two first-pot teams but a draw is a draw – you get what you are given.
“People will be saying it’s an impossible group and perhaps it will be. But let’s wait and see. It will only be impossible if we don’t play well enough. We know all about Luis Suarez with Uruguay and Mario Balotelli with Italy. But Italy and Uruguay will have to focus very heavily on people like Steven Gerrard, Wayne Rooney and Daniel Sturridge – if he maintains his form of the early season.”