Having been vocal on social media when England let their lead over Russia slip right at the death, Glenn Price had an exclusive chat with Paul Scharner about his experiences of being managed by the former Liverpool gaffer.
PAUL Scharner has questioned how Roy Hodgson approaches matches of huge importance and revealed how he found the England boss to be “negative in getting results”.
The Austrian was highly critical of the Three Lions boss’ tactics on Twitter after they surrendered a 1-0 lead late on to Russia in their opening game at the European Championships on Saturday night.
After taking the lead through Eric Dier’s 73rd-minute strike, England substituted Wayne Rooney and Raheem Sterling for midfielders Jack Wilshere and James Milner while a string of attacking options — including Liverpool’s Daniel Sturridge — remained on the bench.
Scharner, who worked under Hodgson at West Bromwich Albion during the 2011-12 season, feels the decision to not search for a second goal to close the game out is part and parcel of the 68-year-old’s methods.
“He had two faces,” Scharner revealed to TAW. “He is very tactical, actually. He looks on the positions, on the shape of the team and how you have to work in defence.
“He’s experienced because he’s now nearly 40 years in the game. What I was impressed with was the shape in the team – 4-4-2 or 4-5-1. But on the other hand, I have to say here — why are you not thinking bigger?
“The main problem that I experienced was [that] he was so negative in getting results. Foremost his playing style, but also in his meetings.
Unbelievable Hodgson! What is he doing? I hope now my beloved Baggies supporters you see what he is not capable of!!
— Paul Scharner (@Scharns33) June 11, 2016
I told him in December 2011: I have never worked under a more negative thinking manager before. Sorry that substitutes are totally wrong!
— Paul Scharner (@Scharns33) June 11, 2016
“He always said during the meetings that it didn’t matter if you played against a top team or a team who fought against relegation, he always said ‘we are happy with a draw’.
“For my opinion, when you are happy with a draw it’s the first step to defeat. He didn’t make it clear that we want to win every game and I felt it was the same against Russia – why didn’t he not bring on [Jamie] Vardy? He’s the best counter-attacking striker in England and [instead] he brings on two central midfielders.
“I think England has a very young team and very talented players. I think you need a young-minded manager who thinks very positive and very offensive. England was the far better team in the first half and you have to go for finishing off the game, not to just start thinking ‘we are 1-0 in front and just keep the result’. You have to finish it off – that’s it.
“You get a run in the tournament when you win the first game then your self-confidence is flowing.
“But now you feel like you have a defeat because everybody saw England was much better and every single player [will have] thought ‘how the hell did we draw the game?’. That’s the main problem.
“If you never start thinking positive and think ‘we can achieve more’ then you’ll always struggle in a tournament.
“Look at the the squad. You have Dele Alli, you have Kane, you have Vardy, Sterling – unbelievable offensive power and he’s playing a 4-5-1. Why, tell me why? Unbelievable.”
The former Premier League defender believes that when matches have a lot at stake, Hodgson will revert back to the principles that have served him at the likes of Liverpool, Fulham, Inter Milan and the Swiss national team.
Scharner added: “I think a game like Russia is a big game. It’s the first game at the tournament and you need a good start to compete in the tournament.
“But if you look back on his history, look back on the [Europa League] final with Fulham against Atletico Madrid — it was a big game and he lost. Then at Inter Milan it was the same.
“When there are big things coming up, he is not positive enough. He’s not thinking ‘if we are attacking then we will win the game’. He is too careful. When the pressure is on, he falls back into his old mind and just makes sure everybody is secure.”
Scharner was released from West Brom at the end of the 2011-2012 campaign following the conclusion of his contract.
The 36-year-old insists his departure from The Hawthorns was down to Hodgson after he guided the Midlands outfit to their highest Premier League finish at the time.
“At West Brom the supporters were quite happy with him because we ended up 10th place,” Scharner continued.
“I think it was the best position ever for West Bromwich in the Premier League, so that’s why everyone was happy. But I think it was much more possible than just ending up in 10th place.
“I was in the team and a regular player, but then I got injured in February and broke my rib.
“From there I had no chance to get back in the team. I had a contract with West Bromwich that said I needed to play 25 games from the beginning but he never gave me more than 22, so he made sure my contract was not extended.”