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Richard Bates - Hodgson and West Brom are a perfect fit

Published: 21 Feb 2011 - 10:32:55

After spending little over a month recharging his batteries, I was pleased to see Roy Hodgson take charge of his first game as West Bromwich Albion's new head coach yesterday.

It brought to an end a bizarre period in his managerial career, a time in which the former Blackburn Rovers and Inter Milan boss’ reputation has gone from highly regarded, to partially tarnished. Now, Hodgson begins a new era at the Hawthorns, as he attempts to re-establish his credentials as a Premier League gaffer.

Having turned Fulham from near-relegation certainties into Europa League finalists, the 63-year-old was deservedly awarded last season's LMA manager of the year accolade. Naturally, speculation ensued. Touted as the next England manager, Hodgson was hot property as he took over at Liverpool.

With a dispute over the club's ownership in full swing, a small transfer budget and a squad lacking the quality to make a realistic push for the Champions League places, Hodgson's assignment was always going to be a difficult one. We all know how that ended.

This job, in my opinion, is the perfect rebound for him. Yet having pleaded for patience from the Baggies faithful in a pre-match press conference last Friday, I couldn't help but get the feeling that Roy's confidence is still seriously suffering following his unceremonious departure from Anfield.

During his stint with the Reds, there were times when he seemed so pre-occupied in trying to win over the supporters that it was having a severe impact on the job he was attempting to do. In being appointed Albion boss, he has been handed the reins at a club that will realise his true value, especially for the predicament they currently find themselves in. The fans will back Hodgson to the hilt, freeing him of any external pressure, something which will allow him to focus purely on the role.

Prior to yesterday's Black Country derby, Albion let slip a three-goal lead against West Ham United under the temporary stewardship of Michael Appleton. As Hodgson watched on from the stands, he would have been tearing his hair out.

Having gone 25 games without keeping a clean sheet, conceding the most goals in the top flight at 52, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to work out which area of the team Hodgson will be devoting most of his time to. Notorious for having a forensic attention to detail, he will make certain the problem is addressed.

And although Hodgson doesn’t appear to be one of football's great motivators, the ex-Switzerland, United Arab Emirates and Finland coach is well known for instilling a never-say-die mentality, something which will be crucial in Albion's bid for survival.

Follow me on Twitter @richardbates_89 DSG


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FOOTBALL.CO.UK BLOGGER:Richard Bates
Richard Bates is a clued-up, forthright and candid football writer. Every Monday, he’ll be devoting his Football.co.uk column inches to the most talked-about Premier League issues. A West Ham United season-ticket holder, Rich has been accused in the past of having a somewhat blinkered perspective when it comes to his beloved Hammers, but he’ll let you be the judge of that. Follow Richard on Twitter @richardbates_89

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