It is a question that many Reds fans will be asking as the Fulham manager is set to be appointed Liverpool boss in the coming days. Will he be able to keep the top stars from leaving? Will he be able to attract big names to replace them if some do leave? These are worries that will preside over Roy’s first weeks and months of management at Anfield. Worries that are shared by former Reds player Jason McAteer, who talked to Sky Sports News:
“If Roy wants to change the whole squad around, he’s going to have to bring some money into the club and that means selling players. If he sold Steven Gerrard it would possibly get him £20million or £30million to go back into the market and restructure the playing staff with that. But I just worry if he’s the kind of manager that can attract big-name players to Anfield. To me it’s like the Mark Hughes situation at Man City. Mark didn’t have that charisma to bring the big players in. People look now at the likes of Mourinho and Mancini as glamour managers and for me Rafa Benitez was in that kind of image. I know if I’d have got a phone call off Rafa Benitez I would have been made up to come to Liverpool and play under Rafa. I don’t know whether Roy Hodgson’s that kind of manager.”
It’s a fair question to ask considering the relative success in top leagues that Mancini, Mourinho and Benitez have over Hodgson. In this regard, you may justifiably be concerned that Roy’s relatively modest record would not excite the big names in world football and could be seen as a step down in class. In some respects, this could be somewhat of an Anglo-centric point of view on the matter. On the continent, Hodgson is far more respected than many would give him credit for, and not just because of his Europa League campaign with Fulham. Over the years he has experienced working in countless European leagues, not always in high quality divisions you have to admit, but his reputation has grown and grown in the countries he has worked in.
Widely respected in Italy, he has taken a number of roles in the country, including both Inter Milan and Udinese boss; he has also raised his profile on the international stage by leading Switzerland to the last 16 of the World Cup in 1994, 30 odd years since their last appearance at the tournament. Above all else though, if after working for 35 years at all levels of football doesn’t get you respect, I don’t know what does. Nobody would go as far to say his coaching abilities were world renowned, but a 62 year old veteran of the sport will always demand a certain level of respect in Europe.
Will it be enough for Liverpool? We will have to wait and see, but his management style rather than his reputation will no doubt determine whether he can persuade some of our big stars to stay, rather than to leave for sunnier climbs. His way of looking at the game, his innovative training methods and his ability to make a group of players work as a team, may yet be the reason why players will want to stay. Danny Murphy has already given his friend Steven Gerrard a ringing endorsement about his manager’s abilities. Will it be enough for our captain to stay?
The biggest worry for all Reds fans is that our best players leave and Roy replaces them with a group of less talented individuals with not one big star to write home about. This is the first time in Hodgson’s long career he has had the opportunity to manage such a big club for an extended period, and he will surely not let it go to waste by allowing the squad to be weakened. People may say he may not have a choice in the matter if the board try to sell to balance the books, but I can’t see for the life of me, why Roy would take on such a mammoth task, without some guarantee that he can make a success out of it.
Follow us on twitter @live4Liverpool
Live4Liverpool is recruiting columnists. For further info contact the site editor at firstname.lastname@example.org