Roy Hodgson: Premier League’s oldest boss calls time on colourful career

The Premier League fixture against Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday will be his last in charge of the Eagles, but who could replace the 73-year old?

Matthew Crist

Almost seven decades since Hodgson attended his first game at Selhurst Park, Crystal Palace’s home fixture against Arsenal on Wednesday will be his last as the Eagles’ manager.

The man who grew up around the corner and went on to take charge of teams in Sweden, Switzerland and Italy among many others before landing the England job will wave goodbye to his boyhood club as the 73-year old steps down from top-flight management.

Hodgson has been in charge of Palace since September 2017 and his last match will be against Liverpool, one of his former clubs, at Anfield on Sunday.

Starting his managerial career 45 years ago with Swedish side Halmstads, Hodgson is the oldest person to manage in the Premier League.

Seven Allsvenskan titles were won during his trophy-laden stint in Sweden, five with Malmo, and international recognition followed when he guided Switzerland to USA 94 and Euro 96, their first two major tournaments since the 1966 World Cup.

He has managed 16 teams in eight countries, including Inter Milan and Udinese, as well as the Switzerland, United Arab Emirates and Finland national sides.

He has also been in charge of Blackburn, Liverpool, West Brom and Fulham in the Premier League, guiding the Cottagers to the Europa League final in 2010.

He took the England job shortly before Euro 2012 and led them to the quarter-finals, but two years later they were knocked out at the group stage of a World Cup for the first time since 1958.

Hodgson’s England won all 10 matches in qualifying for Euro 2016 but he stepped down after a 2-1 last-16 defeat by Iceland left him with a record of three victories from 11 games in major tournaments.

Roy Hodgson

Having replaced Frank de Boer as Palace manager with the club bottom of the Premier League having lost their first four matches of the 2017-18 season without scoring a goal.

Despite losing his first three games in charge, he guided Palace to 11th in the table. They finished 12th and 14th in subsequent seasons and are currently 13th with two games remaining.

Asked whether he was retiring, Hodgson said: “One never knows. It is a dangerous thing to do when you still feel good about yourself to start making bold statements about retirement.

“I am certainly not leaving Crystal Palace with the idea of putting myself back on the market for another job. I really am stepping away from football for a while, but who knows what the future will be? It is a never-say-never moment.

“I’ve seen so many people retire with all the fanfare blazing, only to surface again somewhere in a fairly short period of time. I’d prefer not to do that.

“I am looking forward to spending a little bit more time with my wife and son and maybe listening to what they want to do for once, because it hasn’t happened very much in the last 50 years.”

Frank Lampard Chelsea

Palace have not finished lower than 14th in Hodgson’s four seasons, and victory against Arsenal would mean they could record their highest Premier League points total by beating Liverpool.

Talking of his final game on the Palace bench this weekend Hodgson said: “Goodbyes have never been my forte. I’ve been much better at hellos. It risks being an emotional occasion and I’m not good on emotional occasions.”

Eddie Howe, Sean Dyche and Frank Lampard are among those linked with the role at Selhurst Park, with the club hopeful Hodgson’s successor can capitalise on a talented youth set-up and build on the stability brought about by Hodgson during his four years in charge.

Other names mentioned include Chris Wilder, who has been out of work since leaving Sheffield United in March and former Liverpool and Newcastle boss, Rafa Benitez, who departed Chinese Super League outfit Dalian Professional in January.

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