Euro 2016

Hodgson-Neville friction ruined Euro campaign

LONDON • England's Euro 2016 campaign was undermined by a deterioration in the working relationship between manager Roy Hodgson and assistant Gary Neville and a series of disagreements among members of the coaching staff, according to The Guardian.

While the England players bonded well during the tournament, there was friction behind the scenes and there was a clear divide about the team's methods and, in particular, signs of tension between Hodgson and Neville, who was sacked by Spanish club Valencia in March following a disastrous four-month spell.

The manager's methods were openly questioned by his own staff. "The players got on fine," a source said. "It was the coaches who fell out."

However, Neville denied the allegations in a tweet yesterday, saying: "This is absolute bulls**t! Apology? Removal of article? Let me know!"

The Football Association was so concerned about high jinks at the team's base in Chantilly that it asked the £500 ($893)-a-night Auberge du Jeu de Paume to remove its chandeliers before the players arrived or risk them being smashed.

The hotel reopened last weekend and the staff have revealed they took down their most expensive glass fittings because the FA was worried they might be damaged.

While the players were generally supportive of Hodgson and angered by reports that they questioned Raheem Sterling's selection in the Iceland game, the fact they took it upon themselves to remove Harry Kane from corner-taking duties indicates they were not always happy with the manager's tactics.

Hodgson's training methods - also questioned by Steven Gerrard after the last World Cup - were one source of the disagreements.

Neville had a close ally in Dave Watson, the goalkeeping coach.

Players complained of mixed messages and one even turned to the dugout during the Iceland defeat to ask where a team-mate was supposed to be playing.

FA chief executive Martin Glenn described his predecessors as "naive" for paying so much to previous England managers and said the next appointment would be offered a performance-related salary.

Hodgson's annual £3.5 million pay meant he had the highest basic salary of all the managers at Euro 2016, though still considerably less than the £6 million-a-year packages for Fabio Capello and Sven-Goran Eriksson.

"Roy's got a fortune but it's half the fortune that Fabio got," Glenn said. "The argument against Sven and Fabio in the past was that it wasn't benchmarked. We were just naive. I think we will pay a benchmark salary for the right person. To start off, it has to be results-orientated."


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 04, 2016, with the headline 'Hodgson-Neville friction ruined Euro campaign'. Print Edition | Subscribe