Did Roy Hodgson score an own goal with media outburst?
Former England coach Roy Hodgson is not your typical football manager.
Multi-lingual and with a wealth of experience coaching around the world, he has been in charge of some of the world’s biggest clubs including Inter Milan and Liverpool.
These roles in particular would have prepared him well for the goldfish bowl of international management, where journalists and football fans have an unquenchable thirst for information and for stories.
Despite England’s indifferent performances in international tournaments since 1966, expectations are always high and as the man who selects the team and defines the tactics, Hodgson would be well aware that interest in him would be intense, particularly during a major tournament such as EURO2016.
Within minutes of England’s embarrassing defeat to Iceland, Hodgson read out a prepared statement confirming his resignation before walking off without waiting for questions.
After such a humiliating exit, one can understand why he did not feel it was the right time to go through a post-mortem even though the nature of the result warranted further inquiry.
Perhaps it was conscientious of Hodgson to have prepared a statement although some reports suggest he drafted it quickly in the aftermath of the defeat.
Where Hodgson made an error, though, was in telling reporters at a press conference a day later: “I don't know why I'm here.”
Given the nature of England’s defeat and the hunger of media, in particular those who cover England, to find out more from the coach, Hodgson had a duty to appear and answer the questions after he so rapidly departed following his post-match resignation statement.
There are some situations where a statement is all a spokesperson can provide, due to confidentiality or corporate sensitivities.
But for someone in a high profile position such as Hodgson who is not dealing with ‘hard news’ stories that affect lives in the same way as a politician, business owner or security chief, he has little choice but to front up.
Hodgson has actually had a relatively easy ride from sports journalists in England compared to some of his predecessors despite winning only three games from 11 in major tournaments.
Even when he lashed out after a slender 1-0 win over Norway which resulted in him swearing at journalists for asking why his team only had two shots on target, an assessment he regarded as "absolutely f****ng b*****ks" he maintained a positive rapport with a traditionally demanding press pack.
His final press conference provided an appropriate way to conclude the chapter. No wonder he said: “I’m here to thank you because in the four years, I’ve been fairly treated and have no complaints.”
Given the way the team performed, some of his team selections and reaction to going behind, Hodgson had to explain himself to both the media and the fans who have spent thousands following the England team.
Certainly the Football Association will hope that despite his final press conference error, Hodgson's successor enjoys as positive a relationship with the media as he has done.
Just with an improvement in results to match his cordiality.