Welcome back to today’s XI! For no particular reason, I have decided that today we should look at the best XI to have been managed by Roy Hodgson.
The Premier League’s oldest manager started his first job in management in 1976, and during his 44 year career he has managed 20 different teams.
This XI is comprised of the best players who he has managed, and as usual I have set myself a limit of three players from each team to keep it interesting, let’s get into it!
GOALKEEPER- Pepe Reina- Liverpool
Roy Hodgson’s spent just six months in charge of Liverpool before he was replaced by Kenny Dalglish, and he presided over one of the Red’s worst seasons in recent memory.
But during this time he managed Pepe Reina, who in my opinion is the best goalkeeper he has managed to date. The Spanish stopper was one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League during his nine year stay at Anfield.
Since leaving Liverpool he has played at Bayern Munich, Napoli and AC Milan, but he has never really been able to rediscover the form that he produced in front of the Kop. He won the Premier League golden glove in three occasions and was also named Liverpool’s player of the season for the 2009-10 campaign.
LEFT BACK- Ashley Cole- England
Hodgson’s record with England at major tournaments wasn’t great, they made the quarter finals of Euro 2012, failed to get out of their World Cup 2014 group and then suffered an embarrassing defeat at the hands of Iceland at Euro 2016. But his four years in charge gave him the opportunity to manage some wonderful players.
Left back was by far the hardest choice of this XI, Ashley Cole, or Roberto Carlos? I’ve gone with the former England man, but only just…
Cole played under Hodgson at Euro 2012, and he makes this XI because he was one the best fullbacks in world football during the 2000’s. He made the PFA team of the year on four occasions and he was named in the UEFA team of the year twice (in 2004 and 2010).
RIGHT BACK- Javier Zanetti- Inter Milan
Hodgson managed Inter Milan on two separate occasions, the first was between 1995 and 1997, he then returned as caretaker in 1999. He managed Javier Zanetti during both spells, and ‘Mr Inter’ had to make this XI.
The Argentine made 858 appearances for Inter Milan during his near 20 year spell at the club. He won five Serie A titles, four Coppa Italia’s, one Champions League title and a UEFA cup with the Nerazzurri.
Able to play at right back or defensive midfield, Zanetti was a source of consistency for Inter, and the fact that he has the fourth most Serie A appearances shows just how consistently good he was.
CENTRE BACK- John Terry- England
John Terry is the second player who makes it in from Roy Hodgson’s spell as England manager. Terry was certainly one of the best defenders of his generation, but he never really made it count on the international stage.
The Englishman is unequivocally the best centre back that Hodgson has managed, and this is mainly down to the 17 major trophies that he won at Chelsea.
He was a tough tackling defender, who read the game exceptionally well and he played in the heart of the Chelsea defence for the best part of two decades.
CENTRE BACK- Gary Cahill- Crystal Palace
The first and only man on this list who is currently being managed by Hodgson, Cahill has had an excellent career in the Premier League.
It is fitting that Cahill can be paired next to Terry, as these two formed a wonderful defensive partnership for Chelsea during the early part of the 2010’s. He won two Premier League titles, two FA Cup’s, one Champions League and two Europa League titles for the blues.
Cahill has a very similar defensive style to John Terry, willing to put his body on the line and excellent in the tackle, but also has a good scoring record for a defender. He has been an excellent acquisition for the Eagles, making them one of the most solid defensive sides in the league.
CENTRAL MIDFIELD- Frank Lampard – England
We continue with our English football theme, and with one of the best goal scorers in Premier League history. Frank Lampard played under Roy Hodgson during the end of his England career.
Lampard scored 147 Premier League goals and won three titles and four FA Cups at Stamford Bridge. He was also a consistent performer for England, scoring 29 goals in his 106 caps for the Three Lions.
As a player Lampard had the ability to arrive late in the box and his long distance shooting was also tremendous. Lampard has himself made a successful jump into management, as his youthful Chelsea side sit fourth in the Premier League.
CENTRAL MIDFIELD- Steven Gerrard- Liverpool
Steven Gerrard was managed by Roy Hodgson at both club and international level, and he is the best midfielder that he has managed.
When the debate arises of Gerrard, Scholes or Lampard, I was always inclined to say Lampard, but I saw a quote that has completely changed my mind. “If Lampard was better than Gerrard, why did Mourinho try and sign Gerrard when he already had Lampard?”
Steven Gerrard was unlucky to never win a Premier League title that his talent clearly so richly deserved, but he can take the slight consolation of the fact that he makes this XI.
ATTACKING MIDFIELD- Jari Litmanen- Finland
Yes, Roy Hodgson managed Finland for 22 games in 2006 and 2007, and in that time he managed the great Finnish player ever, Jari Litmanen. He was also at Fulham whilst Hodgson was there, but never actually played for them.
Litmanen played for some of Europe’s biggest clubs, including Ajax, Barcelona and Liverpool. His best years were spent in Amsterdam, where he spent eight years, winning five titles and the 1994-95 Champions League. He was a key component of Ajax’s 1994-95 invincible season, that you will have read about in Sunday’s blog…
He was captain of the Finnish national team for 22 years in a row, he made 137 appearances and scored 32 goals, so he is a Finnish legend.
ATTACKING MIDFIELD- Roberto Baggio- Inter Milan
Roy Hodgson’s very short spell as caretaker manager of Inter Milan in 1999, has arguably given us the two best players of this XI, and Baggio is the first.
The Italian spent two years at Inter between 1998 and 2000, he never won a trophy with them but scored eleven goals in 42 appearances, so he had a decent record.
Baggio is regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, he possessed incredible technical ability. He could create goals or score them himself, and in 1999 he came fourth in an internet poll to decide the greatest player of the century, a true icon.
STRIKER- Fernando Torres- Liverpool
Roy Hodgson was actually the penultimate Liverpool manager to manage Fernando Torres, and The Spaniard left Anfield just a month after Hodgson…
When on form Torres was unplayable, I feel like it would be wrong to mention statistics in this segment, because Torres’ goal statistics don’t show how good he really was.
His electrifying pace and his eye for goal meant he was the most feared player in the Premier League between 2007 and 2010. His form later in his career should not take away from the fact that in his prime, he was a wonderful striker.
STRIKER- Ronaldo- Inter Milan
Ronaldo Nazário was Inter Milan’s top goal scorer during the 1998-99 season, and he heads the attack in this XI, obviously.
The Brazilian scored 49 Serie A goals in five years at Inter Milan, and he helped them to win the 1997-98 UEFA Cup. Inter were lucky enough to have Ronaldo at his peak and Hodgson was there for a small part of that.
There aren’t really enough words that can praise Ronaldo, except to say that he was probably the best goal scorer ever, and when he was at his best, there has never been anyone as good.
ON CORNERS- Harry Kane….
That’s all for today’s XI!
Would you have included anyone else?
Maybe someone from the Fulham team that made it to the Europa League final?