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Hodgson to hold England job talks

LONDON, England, April 30 – Roy Hodgson was to hold talks on Monday about taking over the England manager’s job and looked certain to be appointed within days.

The Football Association’s surprise decision to go for the 64-year-old West Bromwich Albion manager instead of long-time favourite Harry Redknapp left much of the British press underwhelmed.

“What are the Hods on that?” was the front-page story in The Sun tabloid, while the Daily Mail said the “fans’ backlash” has already begun.

With just six weeks to go until England play their first match at Euro 2012, the FA confirmed on Sunday they had been granted permission from West Brom to speak to Hodgson about the position vacated by Fabio Capello.

Tottenham manager Redknapp appeared to have conceded defeat, telling Sky Sports: “It’s no problem. If Roy takes the job, I wish him all the best. He’s a great guy. I’ve got a great job here.”

Hodgson, who has already guided West Brom to safety this season, would be available to take over immediately unlike Redknapp, whose buyout clause at Tottenham could have cost the FA up to £10 million ($16.2 million).

Hodgson has already spoken with the FA chairman David Bernstein and will meet with the four-man FA panel on Monday.

Bernstein said Hodgson, who has managed Switzerland, United Arab Emirates and Finland, and club sides in Sweden, Italy and England, without ever winning a major trophy, was the only manager the FA had approached.

“Roy is the only manager we have approached and we remain on course to make an appointment within the timescale we set-out soon after Fabio Capello’s departure,” Bernstein said.

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“Further conversations will now take place with Roy and my Club England colleagues before any further announcements can be made.”

Hodgson took over at West Brom in 2011 after an unhappy and unsuccessful time six-month spell in charge of Liverpool.

Several newspapers recalled Hodgson had given an interview at the start of the season in which he said he said he would only consider putting himself forward for the England job if he had the backing of the FA, the media and the players.

“I would rather hope if I was ever going to be offered the England job, it would be with the backing of the important people,” he told journalists then.

“And that would be of course the fans and the people like yourselves (the media), who represent the fans. Otherwise it’s going to be a very difficult job for anyone who takes it and has not got the backing of these people.”

The Daily Mail summed up the reaction to the news that Hodgson was set to be named with the headline on Monday: “Is this a job for Mr Average?”

England are currently under the caretaker charge of Stuart Pearce, the former England defender who is also the manager of the national Under-21 side and coach of the British Olympic team.

Concerns have been raised about the FA’s failure to bring in a permanent replacement for Capello so close to the start of the 2012 European Championships in Poland and Ukraine, where England begin the tournament against France in Donetsk on June 11.

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