MX23RW : Monday, October 22 02:08:02

Hodgson backs Howe for long career but doesn’t envy pressure on modern managers

The Crystal Palace boss believes life is much tougher for managers now than when he started.

Roy Hodgson believes Bournemouth’s Eddie Howe is capable of having as lengthy a career in management as he has had – even if the occupation is proving more challenging than ever.

Hodgson’s Crystal Palace visit Bournemouth in the Premier League on Monday in a fixture that will be overseen by the division’s oldest and youngest managers, who also happen to be two of the four Englishmen employed at their level.

The 71-year-old Hodgson developed in a far less ruthless era, and almost half-a-century later he remains hungry — largely because of that kinder start.

A significant level of glamour and money has since engulfed English professional football, and the growing attention and potential benefits have led to considerable pressure.

Even if the financial rewards are the greatest they have been, at 40 Howe is already judged amid his reputation as a likely future England manager, and former Three Lions boss Hodgson said: “It’s much harder today for managers to have long careers if they are starting off.

“Sir Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger and myself, to name three, had or are still having long careers and our start was easier, at least in my case, more so than Arsene and Alex, because it wasn’t under that enormous spotlight and pressure that we’re under today.

“Do I look at (Howe) and think, ‘I wish I was 35 again with plenty of years ahead of me’? No. Money has changed the game enormously.

“You know you must never lose two matches in a row and that’s very, very tough because you’re meeting so many good teams.

“These other managers like Eddie will find a way to progress their careers and make them last as long as mine or others with long careers behind them. But I certainly don’t envy them their task of having to do that.

“They’re going to be subjected to an awful lot of pressure and an awful lot of criticism along the way.

“That (first) 14 or 15 years gave me quite a gradual introduction to coaching and management. The level was good in Sweden, but it wasn’t quite the same way of working as in the Premier League today, with all the hype that goes with that.

“It’s been 40-odd years now, but quite a few of those have not been in this type of situation, which I have now, or with other Premier League clubs, or with Inter (Milan) and Udinese, and with the national teams.

“There has been a variation in the levels I have worked at, and that has helped me stay a little bit longer and maybe stay a little bit fresher, and not find myself dreading each day and the criticism that’s going to come my way.”

Wilfried Zaha has been passed fit to start for Palace at Bournemouth, having struggled in last week’s 0-0 draw with Newcastle, meaning that Christian Benteke is their only major absentee with a knee injury.

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