It’s amazing there isn’t a new England coach yet. You’d think the FA would have had someone in mind before the Euros. In case Hodgson was wanting to retire, you’d think somebody would be in place. Just to have a general chat with someone before the tournament and see if they’d be interested, just in case. So I’m surprised there’s nobody in the role.
If they’d have spoken to Gareth Southgate before the tournament, they’d have known if he was interested, rather than finding out after Roy went that Gareth didn’t want to be the caretaker. This is where having ex-players on board would really help.
More players should be involved and employed by the FA, because they have the skills and the experience. Former players know what to look for during training. The more that are involved, the more they have to offer. Sterling was mentioned during the Euros for lacking confidence, but I felt there was more to it. Former players can help to find the answers. They know the game.
Sam Allardyce and Steve Bruce are in the frame. Both Sam and Steve are English and I think that’s important. Both have managed at a high level. They look to be strong characters. I’ve met them and played against them, they’re very nice blokes and very good managers.
You’ve got to be strong to deal with players. Modern players are superstars. You have to make sure that players do want to play for their country. You have to want to do it. It’s vital that players listen to the management and staff.
If I say to Rooney “I just want you to do a particular job”, you need him to do it, not say he wants to do something else. I’m just being honest. I’m not singling out Rooney, it’s just an example. You need players to want to play for their country and do what the manager asks.
There can be disagreements between football players, like anywhere in life, but that needs to be knocked on the head for the greater good of the England team.
I know Glenn Hoddle very well and Bruce and Allardyce are good managers, but I just believe that the FA needs more ex-players working for them. For example, I know that Allardyce and my mate Peter Reid are good friends. Peter could give Sam very helpful opinions at training. It would be Sam’s decision, but that knowledge is so important.
Little things matter. Whatever you do for your club, you need to help players at international level too. Learn there and then that helps you at club level too. You can always learn in anything and that includes those tiny things that you can pick up from your international teammates.
I think the FA needs ex-pros in every region, with a responsibility to help players in their area, through their experience. Players can have issues and they need a different face, a change of scene, to fix them. Somebody different to talk to, who has experience. Nice and casual, nothing heavy, just informal. These things can help.
If a player is playing for say a Chelsea or a Liverpool, a local ex-player in that area could go and meet him and have a nice chat. For example, in south-east London I could be ideal for helping young pros who have alcohol or gambling problems. You can help them, change the subject, get them feeling more positive again.
There’s a lot of money in football, so you have to make the most of the knowledge in the game. When Rio Ferdinand had his drug test problem, Bryan Robson could have helped him, with his experience. Robbo was the best I played for, he’d have been a great help for Rio.
Since England have been knocked out of the Euros, so many people have come up to me and wanted to know my opinion. Fans know when players are not doing their job. I’m amazed Portugal won the tournament. Usually the best team wins.
The tournament wasn’t top drawer. When you look at England, as a team, I thought England could win it. But that’s not always how it works out. But this is why I think that the FA and England would benefit so much from bringing more ex-players into the set-up.