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Hodgson would love top four shot
Published : 08 May 2010 13:19:00
Fulham boss Roy Hodgson would jump at the chance of a move to a top club despite admitting he is more than happy with life at Craven Cottage. Hodgson has demonstrated his managerial talent this season by taking his side to next Wednesday's Europa League final against Atletico Madrid in Hamburg. The run has seen him linked with Liverpool and also the England job if Fabio Capello should leave after this summer's World Cup. Hodgson, who is on a one-year rolling contract at Craven Cottage, would love the opportunity to manage a top club, but that is not to say he is looking for a way out of Fulham. "If the day comes when a so-called big club wants me and I'm available then I would be happy to do it," he said. "If the question is 'Now you've reached this final are you putting yourself on the market to try to get the biggest club you can get?' then the answer is no, I'm not. "I've signed a contract here. I'm happy at Fulham. Until I hear otherwise that's where I intend to be working. "There's always speculation about managers. The speculation is rife about me at the moment but it will be rife around someone else in the future. That's the nature of things." At 62 no one could say Hodgson has not beearound. His career has seen him stop off at Halmstads, Bristol City, Orebro, Malmo, Neuchatel Xamax, Inter Milan, Blackburn Rovers, Grasshopper, Copenhagen, Udinese, Viking, and Fulham. On top of that he has managed Switzerland to the last 16 of the 1994 World Cup as well as qualification for Euro 96, plus he has managed the United Arab Emirates and Finland. He also speaks fluent Norwegian, Swedish, Italian, German and a smattering of German, French and Finnish. But try to get him to accept any praise for his achievements and you might as well be talking double Dutch. He refuses to take the credit for prolonging the career of Fulham captain Danny Murphy, for drawing the best out of striker Bobby Zamora and rejuvenating Damien Duff. Instead, he launches into yet another of those mixed analogies for which he is famed. "Coaches lead players to the water and the players either drink or decide they want to jump over the stream," said Hodgson. "That's what our job is. We prepare, orchestrate and direct but in the end it's not the concert director who plays the violin. It's the people themselves. A good director can help them by leading them the right way and getting their talent to the fore but coaches should never take credit for individual player performances. It is the players who have to take credit." As it is Zamora (Achilles) and Duff (leg injury) are struggling to be fit for Wednesday. Neither will play any part in Fulham's final league game tomorrow against Arsenal at the Emirates stadium when Hodgson has to decide whether to rest most of his first team. Chances are there will be half a dozen changes at least from the midweek defeat against Stoke for a match the Premier League refused to bring forward 24 hours to give Fulham more time to prepare for their big day. Whatever he decides Hodgson will entertain no criticism. He said: "I would be mortified if anybody started doubting either my or Mohamed Al Fayed's (Fulham chairman) integrity. Our integrity has been proved. It is a meaningless game pretty much. "We can finish 10th at best, 13th at worst. Arsenal I suppose could finish fourth if we beat them and Tottenham win (against Burnley) but Fulham have never won a game at the Emirates with any team they have put out. Whatever decision I make will be for the good of the club and will have Wednesday night in mind." That is Hodgson. Honest, pragmatic, intelligent, artistic. Not many football managers would compare a career which he maintains has "gone sideways, backwards, then upwards again" to a "Kandinsky painting." Not many Premier League bosses would even know Wasilly Kandinsky was an abstract artist with a penchant for improvisation. But Hodgson does. He devours information. Admires creativity. And is proud of his current Fulham side and their contribution to 21st Century football. "The Premier League can't have only Man Uniteds, Chelseas Liverpools and Arsenals," he said. "It's a fantastic achievement of this club to have been in the Premier League 10 years next season. "We don't pretend to be Man United or Arsenal. We don't have that wealth or that fan base. We can't be expecting to be in European finals every year. That is the domain of the clubs who can pay £25m for players. We can't do that." No, but on Wednesday Fulham and Hodgson are in a European final. Win or lose, English football should be proud.