City fans impress England manager
Speaking to around 200 guests at a special Delia’s Canary Catering event at Carrow Road, at which over £1,300 was raised for the Community Sports Foundation’s Sporting Light Appeal, Hodgson answered questions on a wide range of footballing topics.
The 65-year-old, who succeeded Fabio Capello as Three Lions boss in May, gave fascinating insights into his managerial career, Euro 2012, penalty shootouts, the future of English football, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s wonder-goal, but reserved special praise for Norwich City Football Club and its supporters.
He told guests in the Top of The Terrace: “If you’re asking me for my opinion on whether Norwich will survive this season in the Premier League and go on to be stronger in years to come then I’ve got a resounding opportunity to say that you’ll definitely do that.
“I think you’ve got every reason to be proud of your football club for what you’ve done over the last few years.
“Obviously Delia Smith, Michael Wynn-Jones, and David McNally are friends of mine so I’m preaching to the converted to some extent, but I think they’ve done a fantastic job for you, and you’ve achieved a wonderful family atmosphere at the club.”
Speaking about the Yellow Army, Hodgson added: “I think it’s a very good thing that there is that partisan support, and that’s something you’ve got to be very proud of here in Norwich.
“Here you have a club which has always done extremely well, and a club that you have supported not only through the very good times, but through the occasional bad time as well.
“The fact is you’ve made Norwich a very difficult place to come to, because everyone who comes to Norwich knows that they’re playing in front of a very partisan crowd, a crowd who believe in their own, a crowd that really want to see their own doing well – a family in a way.
“Any club that comes here, whether they’re Manchester United or Reading, they will know they’ve got one heck of a fight on their hands when they come to Carrow Road.
“Here you have a family club, a club that’s very well supported, you’re in the Premier League, and you’re in the Premier League to stay.”
The England Manager was at Carrow Road to take part in a the first ever ‘Football Night’ run by Delia’s Canary Catering, in which guests enjoyed a three course meal, before having the chance to put their questions to the man in charge of the national team.
Hodgson will also be attending today’s match at Carrow Road against Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United side, and was inevitably asked by City fans about the prospect of Club captain Grant Holt winning a first cap for his country.
He explained: “The fact is that when you’re a national team coach you’ve got a job of picking a squad of players and there are a lot of teams up and down the country that feel themselves a bit disadvantaged that they don’t have a representative.
“That’s not to say that their representatives aren’t good enough, and in the case of your man Grant, there’s no reason why a man like him with the abilities he has couldn’t play for England.
“I haven’t made any strong judgements for or against players like Grant, and people of the same ability as him. Rickie Lambert’s name is often mentioned, and Grant has had a similar career really.
“He’s done fantastically well to come through the lower leagues and prove himself at every level he’s played.
“Andy Carroll is another player in that category, and he has been in the England squad, but the last time we played I went down a slightly different route.
“That’s not to say I won’t every go back to a route where I’m looking for a player of Andy Carroll’s stature, of Grant Holt’s stature, and of Rickie Lambert’s stature, and then these players will come very much into consideration.
“He’s a player I admire, because I admire everybody who has had a career like he has had. He’s a player whose first step wasn’t into the top Premier League clubs and fated from the first moment he came into professional football.
“He’s a man like Stuart Pearce and like Garry Birtles, whose career has started outside of professional football. He has made such a great career for himself, not only at this club but also at other clubs where he has played.
“I have to say that he has my full admiration, but if I was to give an England cap to every player that has my full admiration then I’d have to find about 420 places and I don’t have quite that many.”
For more information on upcoming events at Carrow Road, including an evening with Antonio Carluccio, visit www.canarycatering.co.uk.