Phil Jagielka says England’s players are “desperate” for Roy Hodgson to stay on after it emerged Football Association chairman Greg Dyke was planning to hold contract talks with the national team’s head coach.
Life since succeeding Fabio Capello at the helm in May 2012 has been far from plain sailing for the 67-year-old, but there is at least now a sense of positivity around the national team.
The World Cup debacle led to understandable questions about Hodgson’s position, yet the FA decided to honour his contract through Euro 2016.
Qualification is all but assured after England began their campaign with four straight wins, so focus has turned to the manager’s future, which Dyke plans to sort months before the tournament in France.
And former Sheffield United defender Jagielka is the latest high-profile player to express his desire for a new contract to be given to Hodgson, who will be 70 when the 2018 World Cup comes around.
“We were all massively disappointed with the way the World Cup went,” the 32-year-old Everton defender said.
“Qualifying went pretty well and we were all confident to have a good World Cup, but unfortunately it never happened.
“It was nice to see Roy was given another chance. It was always going to be a nervy opening to the European qualifying and stuff but the boys are fantastic, it proved we backed him, it proved it was the right decision to do.
“But I am sure when we qualify, are expected to qualify, we need to have a good tournament in France to back him if Roy is going to stay on. But the boys are desperate to do that.
“Qualifying has proved we are one step on the ladder to qualification so we are not daft enough not to know we still need to do it at a tournament, but we feel we have the boys to do that.”
However, it is not just about the talent of players and Jagielka has been impressed by the manner in which Hodgson has managed the squad.
Describing him as a “very likeable person” and a “good man manager”, it seems a far cry from “headmaster” Capello.
While Jagielka jokes that a brief hello in the corridors of St George’s Park can end in a 30-minute chat, the players clearly prefer that to the iron fist with which the Italian ruled.
“I’m not going to sit here and slag him (Capello) off, but it’s a different way of doing things,” Jagielka said.
“He’s had fantastic success with that style during his managerial career, but it was difficult sometimes. You’d walk past him and not know where you stood.
“It would make the weeks a bit more difficult, and you’d be on eggshells sometimes walking round.
“But we’ve got characters in the squad now and it helps that they’re allowed to be themselves when we go away. You can see there’s a good spirit in the squad, and the boys are desperate to go out and perform.”
Dyke confirmed yesterday that he had not had any contract talks yet with Hodgson.
“I get on quite well with Roy and I chat to him all the time,” the FA chairman said.
“We will have the discussion with Roy in the next nine months to a year. “When we decided in Brazil that we wanted Roy to continue with his contract, we thought ‘he’s got a contract, he sees it through’.
“Sometime in the next year we will discuss what happens afterwards.”
Dyke said Hodgson would attend the draw for the World Cup qualifying stages in Russia this summer.
The FA chairman will not attend the event, though, as he does not want a repeat performance of the World Cup draw in 2013 when he slid his index finger across his throat after Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica were chosen in England’s group, therefore implying Hodgson’s team were doomed.
Dyke joked: “I am not allowed to go after what happened last time!”