Glenn Hoddle Discusses England’s Chances Ahead of Qatar 2022

Liam Bewsher

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Glenn Hoddle Discusses England’s Chances Ahead of Qatar 2022

Thanks to our partners at Betfair, FootyAccumulators managed to get an exclusive interview with former England manager Glenn Hoddle ahead of the World Cup.

The 65-year-old famously managed England at the 1998 World Cup in France where the Three Lions were unfortunately knocked out in the Round of 16 by Argentina on penalties, following a thrilling 2-2 draw, but, in controversial circumstances due to a red card for David Beckham and a Golden Goal that was questionably ruled out by the officials.

Hoddle has the fourth-highest win percentage of any England manager when excluding Sam Allardyce who managed just one match, having won 17 and drawn six of his 28 games in charge, equating to a win percentage of 60.71%.

With the World Cup being just one week away, Hoddle kindly shared his time to discuss his thoughts ahead of the tournament in Qatar.

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The Excitement is Building Ahead of the World Cup

Hoddle like many is looking forward to the World Cup and called the tournament “exciting”, as for England’s chances, he fancies Brazil and France as the favourites, whilst mentioning that England are in a group of six who can look forward to competing to win the competition as a whole.

The former Three Lions boss mentioned that Gareth Southgate has a series of exciting forward players in the squad, but, says that there will always be scrutiny on how the team defends.

The BT Sport pundit noted that Harry Maguire will be “rusty” after a prolonged time on the sidelines and bench at Manchester United, on top of injuries to other key players. Hoddle believes that playing three central defenders would be wise to solidify England’s defence.

World Cup Has Come at a Great Time For England

When asked about the scheduling of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Hoddle said that the timing of the competition was “ridiculous”, stating that it’s the biggest sporting event in the world, however, he did give an interesting view aside from this.

Ex-England boss Hoddle elaborated on his initial disdain for the tournaments’ timing by going on to say that “I think it’s come at a really good time for us you know, all in all we can’t have it both ways”.

The 65-year-old brought up how fresh the England team would be after playing just 16 games rather than a long season in the best league in the world. On top of this, Hoddle said “this squad has played together quite a lot, they know each other and they’ve almost got a club mentality in the club spirit”.

These were views that have perhaps not been widely expressed by many pundits, another intriguing factor that the former Southampton manager touched on was the lack of media pressure that it will create.

“If you got three weeks before a start of a tournament, media will try and find some sort of stories about injuries and this and that and left field things”.

Hoddle added “that’s going to go out of the window because straight away, his (Southgate’s) first press conference is only three or four days before England’s first game…Gareth and the set of players can just get straight down to the nitty-gritty of planning, playing and talking about the match”.

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How Will England Line up Against Iran?

On 21st November, England kick off their World Cup finals campaign against Iran, which will be a game that they are firm favourites to win.

Hoddle said “it’s all about the first match, you have to be flexible, most countries will be, looking internally at the injuries, and players with perhaps not enough match practice, perhaps Gareth may go for a three at the back but be more offensive”.

The former AS Monaco playmaker said that he expects Iran to be very defensive and “obstinate” to try and cope with England’s attacking threat. Hoddle says that it will be an awkward match, and that Southgate will be slightly wary of not getting hit on the counter, but will expect to win the game due to the offensive talents that the Three Lions possess.

According to Hoddle, Southgate’s squad selection has allowed for tactical versatility when needed to face different types of opposition.

When asked who he thinks Southgate will start between Harry Kane and Callum Wilson for the game against Iran, following Spurs boss Antonio Conte mentioning that the Three Lions captain is “tired” Hoddle said: “He (Southgate) will play Kane, as the first game in a tournament is massive, I don’t care who you’re playing”.

Interestingly, Hoddle pointed back to 1998, saying how important it felt to beat Tunisia in England’s opening game, after the pressure England came under when they failed to win their opening game of the 1986 World Cup when the 65-year-old was playing for the Three Lions.

Spurs forward Kane has somewhat gone under the radar this season due to Erling Haaland’s form for Manchester City, as the 29-year-old has found the back of the net 12 times in 15 Premier League appearances.

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How Will Southgate Feel When Leading England Into a World Cup?

Hoddle refers to Southgate as having “more experience than he had” of international football tournaments, having gone through the 2018 World Cup and 2020 European Championship, whilst praising the former Middlesbrough manager’s performances at the aforementioned competitions.

He also believes that Gareth will be “excited” due to the spirit in the England camp, having played together for so long. He also believes that Southgate will be “content” having seen his squad enter Qatar relatively injury-free, with Manchester City duo Kyle Walker and Kalvin Phillips needing fitness tests.

Interestingly, when asked about any changes that he would’ve made to the squad, he brings up Phillips’ injury worries, mentioning that there’s not much a physio can do to test a shoulder injury. Hoddle offered Southampton’s James Ward-Prowse as a potential good alternative to the former Leeds United midfielder.

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Will Southgate Leave his Role as England Manager after the 2022 World Cup?

There has been plenty of speculation around Southgate’s future, having seen England regress significantly since the final of Euro 2020.

Since their loss to Italy at Wembley in the summer of 2021, the Three Lions have been relegated from Nations League, doing so in League A Group 3, behind the likes of Italy, Hungary and Germany, whilst also entering the World Cup without a win in their last six matches.

Former England manager, Hoddle, believes that Southgate has to make it through the group stages, but says that “he (Southgate) has done far better than people give him credit for” due to his performances in the last two tournaments - stating that the next step is “to win a trophy”.

Hoddle believes that this is a “wide open World Cup” with there being no hot favourites who you can put your finger on as guaranteed winners. The 65-year-old elaborated on this by saying that you need your goalkeeper to play exceptionally well, whilst further mentioning that England’s recent results may be a good thing to lower expectations.

On top of this, Hoddle states that Pickford will likely be Southgate’s number one, although there isn’t much between the other goalkeeper options. He also mentions that England’s progress will be determined by their defensive solidity and that everyone’s defences have weak components.

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Hoddle is a Huge Admirer of Phil Foden

When asked if he could have one player from the current squad for France 98’ Hoddle jokes that none of them would get into that squad, before mentioning “the easy one to choose would be Kane, but, our squad was blessed with some unbelievable strikers”.

Eventually, Hoddle settles on Phil Foden of Manchester City and elaborated by saying “he’s a special talent and hopes that he comes through this World Cup as something special”.

On top of this, we asked Glenn if he could draw a comparison between any of the current squads and himself, he complimented the question as a tough one, saying that “it’s easier for others to answer that one”. Again, he settles on Foden, but also compared himself to Leicester City’s James Maddison. These answers themselves are a huge compliment coming from such an iconic figure of the English game.

Hoddle also brought up Foden's name again, saying that he excites him the most in the England team, whilst mentioning that Jude Bellingham is “a wonderful player”. The BT Sport pundit also said that there’s not many teams with the balance and capabilities of Declan Rice and Bellingham in the middle of the pitch, stating that “we should be proud to have them”.

Was Ivan Toney Unlucky to Miss Out on the World Cup?

When questioned about Brentford striker Ivan Toney, who has ten goals and two assists in 14 games, Hoddle said that choosing Callum Wilson was the right decision, praising the ex-Bournemouth man for doing “exceedingly well” of late and further praising the 30-year-old as a brilliant finisher and “adaptable to international football”.

Hoddle does, however, believe that Toney would have been an “interesting one” to choose, as he offers something different, and that the 65-year-old would have tried to sneak him in somewhere in the squad. Hoddle notes that Toney will be disappointed that he didn’t get a chance, but, praised the former Peterborough United striker for responding well at the weekend after scoring a brace in the Bees’ stunning 2-1 win away at Premier League champions Manchester City.

Would Hoddle Change Anything From France 98’?

Our first question specifically based on 1998 was around leaving out highly regarded playmaker, Paul Gascoigne.

Hoddle responded that what the press wouldn’t tell you is that ‘Gazza' was injured and called it a “sad” decision. According to Hoddle, Gascoigne was carrying knee and calf injuries before mentioning that he suffered a further injury in his last game prior to the World Cup.

When asked if he’d change anything from France 98’, and reminded of Beckham’s red card, Hoddle said he believed that he did everything right at the time and recalled that he believes that the former Manchester United man should have been given a yellow card for his kick out on Diego Simeone, but, points directly towards a goal disallowed in Golden Goal extra time rather than Beckham being sent off.

The Betfair pundit also finished off by saying that the Three Lions have had some bad luck in tournaments such as Frank Lampard’s goal against Germany in 2010, as well as Diego Maradona’s ‘Hand of God’ goal in 1986. The former England international hopes that the Three Lions can have some good fortune at Qatar and pounce on it and go all the way this time around.

For more from Betfair ambassador, Glenn Hoddle and to get all the latest football tips this World Cup head to https://betting.betfair.com/football/world-cup-2022/

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