In Review

Hodgson turns nasty but can England turn the corner?

The England manager claims he is a vicious and angry man as he prepares for Switzerland challenge

While England's footballers seem to be having trouble reinventing themselves on the pitch, manager Roy Hodgson seems determined to reshape his image off the field.

He responded with unusual ferocity to criticism of his team in the wake of his side's lame 1-0 win over Norway on Wednesday and despite regaining his composure he maintained his "no more Mr Nice Guy" approach ahead of England's opening Euro 2016 qualifier against Switzerland tonight.

Talking to the media ahead of the encounter in Basel, "normal service was resumed, Hodgson returning to his more traditional statesmanlike image," says Phil McNulty of the BBC. "But he went on to reveal that he may not be the avuncular figure he sometimes seems."

Asked about his outburst after the Norway game Hodgson declared: "First of all, I'm not a calm person and have never been a calm person.

"Secondly, as any player who has worked with me would attest, there are always moments of extreme anger and viciousness in my coaching sessions."

As if to underline his point be even began to talk about himself in the third person. "Is Roy Hodgson an angry person, has he got a nasty streak?" he wondered aloud. "You wouldn't have to go to far to prove it. The players would come out of the woodwork in no time."

With Hodgson now officially "under pressure" England are in familiar territory, says Henry Winter in the Daily Telegraph. Since the Norway game, "the criticism of Hodgson has become personal, excessively so, but that is the strife and times of an England manager."

Yet allowing his temper to show revealed that Hodgson "is not Captain Mainwaring in a tracksuit, and that he is willing to defend passionately his players".

The real question should not be about Hodgson's reaction to reporters, says Daniel Taylor of The Guardian, it should be about the state of the team. "If anything, Hodgson has had a relatively easy ride in the media, with only isolated calls for his removal since the World Cup," he says. "It is clear, however, that the mood is threatening to turn, among the public and in the press box.

"It is he, more than anyone, who needs a good result against Switzerland on Monday night. He needs it, to put it bluntly, to get everyone off his back."

However, England are set to change tack against the Swiss. Striker Daniel Sturridge is unfit and with Jordan Henderson also limping out of training on Sunday, Hodgson is expected to play a 4-3-3, using the pace of Danny Welbeck and Raheem Sterling on the counter attack. Fabian Delph is expected to be given a start in midfield, alongside Jack Wikshere and Henderson, if fit.

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