WORDS FROM JAMES BENSON
Exasperation, elation, and frustration, it’s been a mixed bag of emotions for England at Euro 2016. And Monday night’s draw with Slovakia did little to ease the pressure on Three Lions boss Roy Hodgson.
He’s already been warned that he faces the chop if they fail to reach the semi-finals in France, however, the result at Saint-Etienne’s Stade Geoffroy-Guichard ensured that plotting a path to the last four would not be so simple.
Failure to beat Iceland could seal the 68-year-old’s fate.
But the question is; who would replace him?
Here we take a look at four potential candidates to lead England’s 2018 World Cup qualification bid.
Already installed as one of the bookies’ favourites should the job become available this summer, Gary Neville would be many fans’ choice to replace Hodgson.
Well acquainted with the England set-up following his 12-year international career, coupled with time spent as part of the Three Lions backroom staff, the senior post seems like a natural progression for the former Manchester United star.
However, his first foray into management ended in total failure.
His shock spell as Valencia boss lasted less than four months and it may be too early for the 41-year-old to lead his country.
Like Neville, former England defender Gareth Southgate has already been brought into the Three Lions fold as Under-21s boss.
And this summer he coached them to glory at the prestigious Toulon Tournament; England’s first win their since 1994.
That mid-1990’s side featured the likes of Sol Campbell and Robbie Fowler and, should he be appointed as Hodgson’s successor, Southgate would be expected to lead the current crop to the “success” Campbell and co. enjoyed during their own senior careers.
However, the FA may have doubts about the 45-year-old’s suitability for the Wembley hotseat.
Come on, can you really imagine him as England boss?
Sam Allardyce is, to all intents and purposes, your archetypal, old-school English manager.
And his no-nonsense style may be just what’s needed to focus the Three Lions on making the most of their international careers.
He might fancy the change too, given last season’s torturous experience of battling the drop with long-time Premier League strugglers Sunderland.
However, despite his advancing years, the 61-year-old may not be willing to step back from the day-to-day rigmarole of leading a side through a 38-game domestic season.
Maybe, then, a part-time role could be on offer for the Dudley-born boss?
LOUIS VAN GAAL
Bear with me on this one.
Yes, Louis van Gaal failed to reach the heights expected of him at Old Trafford, but there were positives to come out of his reign.
And at the forefront of these was his faith in the youth.
England may not be facing the overhaul that Hodgson had to deal with after the 2014 World Cup, but by 2018 the Three Lions team will look pretty different.
So, who better to trust with their development than a man who nurtured the likes of Andres Iniesta, Clarence Seedorf and Thomas Muller as youngsters?
He led a distinctly average Holland side to the semi-final stage in Brazil two years ago too, so he can’t be all that bad.