by Daisy Cutter

Roy Hodgson very much strikes me as someone who tuts at the sight of graffiti and stoops with a world-weary sigh to pick up stray litter in the street, yearning for the return of National Service as he does so.

He is a man cut precisely from old school cloth, from a time when people placed great value on values and aspired for decency. He presumably owns a pair of Sunday slacks and is summoned by relatives into lecturing their youngest on the perils of smoking.

For these reasons alone he is the perfect short-term appointment to take charge of an England set-up in danger of going to the dogs.

This summer will see the last dull shine of a supposed golden generation glint at promise before finally being consigned for scrap. There will be few tears shed for the retirements or gradual fazing out of John Terry, Gareth Barry, Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard because by common consensus we know they have had their time and that time was strewn with disappointment.

Once this current bunch return from the Ukraine – whether it be in shame or glory – there will be a need for a quickening of evolution and for youngsters such as Phil Jones, Jack Wilshere, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Daniel Sturridge to take their place. A new dawn and all that but also, crucially, a change of direction.

No more dominating egos. No more disunity. No more writing cheques with your club form that your Three Lions performances cannot cash.

Instead the new faces must be meticulously mentored into going about things the right way by which I don’t mean wearing a blazer for sit-down meals or always addressing FA officials as ‘sir’ but rather on the pitch. They must possess tactical astuteness and prioritise technical nous, to synchronize themselves into a fluid yet organised team that doesn’t rely on bluster and individual reputation. Already well schooled in such virtues by Ferguson and Wenger our bright young hopefuls must now extend this education onto the international stage. And for this Hodgson – or ‘Woy’ as disgruntled Wiverpool fans insist upon calling him – with all his savvy and insistence upon the correct and proper is the perfect man to drill these lessons home.

In short, he can be their national service.

His appearance may evoke an avuncular presence but there is an iron will behind the doleful eyes and deep worry lines. Here is a man who saw off Roberto Carlos at Inter in a power struggle over a disagreement over formation and anyone who assumes he is a soft touch will receive short and testy shrift. Those who additionally fear a lack of respect from his new young charges, particularly following the manner of his disposal at Anfield, are forgetting one critical point – kids such as Wilshere and Oxlade-Chamberlain want to succeed and improve. Hodgson is a coach first and foremost who can draw on an extensive CV that has taken him to right across the globe and one training session will be sufficient to convince these future world-beaters that they can come on leaps and bounds under his expert tutorage.

There are many who believe that, due to time restraints, international management is less about coaching and more about glorified cheerleading. Pick your strongest eleven and inspire them to enjoy their football, to be nerveless and comfortable on the biggest stages and feeling invincible. Of course Redknapp would have been ideal for such a role. But not now, not when we’re at such a key juncture in our development, when we’re lightyears behind our peers in terms of technical and tactical nous yet possess a pool of young talent who are proficient enough to catch up.

Good old ‘Arry would have given us some frills and spills this summer but beyond that instant sugar-rush we would have remained rooted to a primitive mandate that has cost us so dear for several generations. Whereas under the shrewd custodianship of Roy – not Woy – we will get there. Slowly but surely, catchy Spainy, or at least not be looked down upon disdainfully by them and others. Assuming the infantile press don’t hound him out before he can complete the required transition – and that I fear is a likely scenario despite them knowing full-well of his objectives, the traitorous little f***ers – Hodgson may not get us glory but will prepare us for the genuine contention of glory in tournaments to come.

There were scant options available to the FA on this occasion as regards to finding a top class, home-grown and long-term appointment but that can soon change. In a couple of years time bright young British coaches such as Brendan Rodgers, Paul Lambert and Nigel Adkins will have further honed their trade and might be considered outstanding candidates. Then there’s Pardew or O’Neill or the possibility of again looking overseas.

One thing is for certain however; whoever does take charge down the line will inherit a squad schooled in intelligence of thought and movement and will be a significant improvement upon what we have at present.