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    England shadow may soon loom large over Selhurst Park

    England shadow may soon loom large over Selhurst Park

    By Scott Hunt

    Look into the future? What do you see? England winning Euro 2016 in a blaze of glory with a 5-1 victory over Germany in the final? Almost certainly not. England stumbling out of the group and being knocked out by the first high class side they face? Probably.

    And that grim reality will surely represent the end of Roy Hodgson’s unsuccessful and frankly uninspiring stint as England manager. His contract expires in the summer anyway and there will be little desire from fans to see that extended. To be fair to Roy, he hasn’t got great raw materials to work with but after the debacle that was the 2014 Brazil World Cup he’s probably lucky to be getting another crack at a major tournament.

    So, in this prediction of the future, England will once again be looking for a new manager. They will want that man to be an Englishman. Now when Roy Hodgson got the job it was a small pool to choose from. Hodgson, somewhat surprisingly beat off the people’s choice Harry Redknapp to take up the hotseat. Right now though, there are a number of English candidates to choose from.

    Swansea’s Garry Monk continues to impress, with the Welsh side building on their best ever Premier League points haul last season with a strong start to this campaign. Bournemouth’s Eddie Howe is a fresh young manager who has guided the Cherries from League One to the Premier League with a brand of exuberant attacking football. Whisper it quietly in East London but the recently-departed West Ham manager Sam Allardyce knows a thing or two about football management and has a wealth of top flight experience to call upon. And the FA will suggest two of their own employees in Hodgson’s assistant Gary Neville and Under 21’s boss Gareth Southgate may be in the mix for the job. Neville though is untested as a manager and after the appalling performances of the Under 21’s in the summer, Southgate is fortunate to still have that job.

    But the one man who will surely be at the top of that list is Crystal Palace’s Alan Pardew. Having dragged Palace from the brink of relegation when he took over last season, Pardew has had a brilliant transfer window to have people talking about the Eagles as a potential top seven club. Their start to the season has been brilliant and has helped Pardew prove his managerial credentials which were so unfairly questioned during his time as Newcastle boss.

    The Toon Army, who took against Pardew in their fight with the club’s owner Mike Ashley, rarely appreciated his work in the North East. But since taking over in 2010, Pardew maintained their newly-regained Premier League status and in 2011-12 guided them to a 5th place finish – just missing out on Champions League qualification.

    That was a remarkable achievement and he has enjoyed success everywhere he has managed, except perhaps with Charlton. He secured promotion to Division One for Reading in 2002 before taking over at West Ham and guiding the Hammers back to the Premier League. At The Valley, Pardew couldn’t keep Charlton in the top flight and struggled with them in the Championship before setting Southampton back on the right path after their issues with relegation to League One and administration.

    He is an experienced manager and it is often said that international management is not a young mans game. Pardew would therefore have the edge on Monk and Howe when it came to casting the net for the next England boss.

    Pardew does seem to be building something quite special at Palace though. They have a brilliant home support and with a number of new faces and a new belief, appear to be ready to make themselves a top class Premier League outfit. Pardew may be reluctant to leave that so soon after joining the club and he is known to have an excellent relationship with the clubs chairman and board.

    But you feel it is inevitable, should he continue to perform so well, that England will ask the question and Pardew has made it known that he views the England job as the pinnacle of management. While his attachment to Palace, which goes back to his playing days, is deep he may be unable to refuse an offer that may never come again.

    Palace will be aware that such performances from their manager are bound to attract attention from elsewhere and they will know that they are powerless to stop their manager taking the England role if it is offered to him. That would represent a major blow to the club who are making such positive strides.

    Time will tell whether England do come knocking and indeed whether Pardew would accept the job so many view as a poisoned chalice, but he is right now the outstanding candidate for the post and the England shadow may soon start to hang over Selhurst Park.
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