ROY HODGSON SET FOR ENGLAND JOB
Roy Hodgson is expected to be confirmed as England manager today after spending four hours at Wembley engaged in "positive" discussions with the Football Association.
Hodgson arrived at just before 1500 BST yesterday for a meeting with FA chairman David Bernstein, chief executive Alex Horne, director of football development Sir Trevor Brooking and Club England managing director Adrian Bevington that was described as friendly, although there was no official comment.
It is conceivable that talks may have continued well into the evening.
However, with the FA mindful that the eyes of the football world were on events at the Etihad Stadium, they have instead opted to update further at some point today, with the update seemingly certain to be that Hodgson has got the job.
Certainly, FA insiders were at pains to stress Hodgson was attending a "meeting" rather than an interview, offering further proof that he remains the only man on their radar.
It is anticipated Hodgson will complete the Premier League season with West Brom before taking charge for England's two Euro 2012 warm-up games against Norway in Oslo on May 26 and Belgium, for his first game at Wembley, seven days later.
Then it is on to Poland and Ukraine, where World Cup legend Sir Geoff Hurst believes England are capable of reaching the semi-finals.
There is still a sense of disbelief that Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp has been overlooked.
Hurst is among those who felt Redknapp was the ideal candidate.
However, he does not believe Hodgson's likely appointment will have a negative impact on the overall aims this summer.
"Whether we had a manager or not, I still think we are capable of getting at least to the semi-finals," said Hurst.
"I don't see any reason why we can't get to that level and if we can, you never know what could happen.
"Roy has not been involved in the preparations to date and that's not ideal.
"When you have a manager in place quite a while before, the preparation is going to be very natural, as it was with us in 1966.
"But, in some respects, I see that as a positive.
"It might take the pressure off, certainly from the media and the fans, to be successful this year.
"That could be a good thing because expectation is huge on the manager and the players."
It is a sentiment echoed by England fans' spokesman Mark Perryman, although he does not believe the Three Lions have any chance of reaching the last four, as Hurst has predicted.
That does not mean Perryman is against a Hodgson appointment.
Indeed, he thinks it is a good thing because the legend that has grown around Redknapp, including comparisons with the late Brian Clough, have irritated him somewhat.
"It is a ridiculous comparison," said Perryman.
"Harry Redknapp has been a manager for 30 years and won one FA Cup.
"Brian Clough won two European Cups and lots of other trophies besides.
"To link the two doesn't stand up at all. Clough was the greatest manager never to manage England. Harry is the populist choice, but so was Kevin Keegan and what an unmitigated disaster that turned out to be."
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