Hodgson faces the media: I didn’t see England defeat coming, says embarrassed ex-boss after Iceland humbling
England’s now ex-coach cuts a bewildered figure as he appears before the press on Tuesday following his team’s humiliating Euro 2016 elimination
England’s now ex-coach Roy Hodgson cut a bewildered figure as he appeared before the press on Tuesday following his team’s humiliating Euro 2016 elimination by Iceland, a defeat he said he hadn’t seen coming.
“My emotions are obvious ones. I am really disappointed. I didn’t see the defeat coming,” said Hodgson of the 2-1 loss in Nice in the last 16.
“Nothing in the first three games here gave me any indication that we would play as poorly as we did.”
Facing reporters at England’s media centre in Chantilly, north of Paris, Hodgson had begun by admitting: “I don’t really know what I’m doing here. I thought my statement last night was sufficient.”
Hodgson, 68, resigned minutes after Monday’s game and he said that he did not understand why he had been summoned to appear alongside Football Association chief executive Martin Glenn.
“I’m no longer the England manager. My time has been and gone. But I was told that it was important for everybody that I appear,” he added.
“People are still smarting from our defeat yesterday, which has seen us leave the tournament. I suppose someone has to stand and take the slings and arrows that come with it.”
Asked how he was feeling, Hodgson replied: “As you can understand, I’m very fragile today. It wasn’t a good night for anybody, because we wanted to stay in this tournament. We wanted to do well.
“We even believed, if we’d have got to the quarter-final, we could even go beyond that. Now we go home as losers in the last 16 and we maintain that wretched record of not winning a knockout game in a tournament.”
Glenn announced that he, FA technical director Dan Ashworth and FA vice-chairman David Gill, the former Manchester United director, would lead the search for Hodgson’s successor.
England are due to open their qualifying campaign for the 2018 World Cup in Russia with an away game against Slovakia on September 4.
Glenn paid tribute to Hodgson, but said it was time for England to analyse “the lack of performance at the business end of tournaments over a period of time” before appointing a new coach.
“People are looking for quick answers because we are feeling raw,” Glenn said.
“I think we need to have a wide consultation. There is not one single thing that we can say, ‘If we fix that, it will work.’”
Glenn said that the FA would have to understand why England always “seem brittle” at major tournaments, but he shied away from offering suggestions, twice stating that he was “not a football expert”.
Meanwhile, England captain Wayne Rooney released a statement refuting press reports that senior players had lost faith in Hodgson’s methods.
“In response to recent media reports, I’d like to say that is completely untrue,” he said.
“On behalf of the players, we completely supported the England manager, but we understand his reasons for stepping down.
“We had absolute faith in the build-up and throughout the tournament.”
England’s players had earlier made a solemn exit from their team hotel in front of a small crowd of onlookers.
Goalkeeper Joe Hart, blamed for Kolbeinn Sigthorsson’s 18th-minute winner for Iceland, was the first player to board the bus outside the luxurious Auberge du Jeu de Paume hotel in Chantilly.
He was followed by teammates including Rooney and Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy, who carried a cup of coffee in his hand.
There had been around 100 journalists, photographers, fans and onlookers outside England’s hotel when the squad arrived on June 6, but that number was halved for the players’ departure.
Some fans shouted out the names of their favourite players – Rooney being particularly solicited – but none of the 23-man squad spoke a word as they climbed the steps onto the coach.
England’s players and staff had flown back from Nice to Le Bourget airport outside Paris earlier on Tuesday. They were due to return to England from Le Bourget.