The differing fortunes of British managers at Euro 2016

Andy Dillon by Andy Dillon / 22 June 2016, 14:23

All three British teams at Euro 2016 have now booked their places in the knockout stages of the tournament - an impressive feat given that two of the nations were making their debut. The Sun's Andy Dillon (@andydillon70) takes a look at how the three British managers have fared so far, and how one is being significantly outperformed by the other two...

SO MUCH for Brexit then. Northern Ireland's surprising passage into the last 16 of Euro 2016 completes a firm Remain vote from all three of Britain's football teams.

As the nation prepares to vote on whether to stay in or get out of the EU, England, Wales and the Northern Irish are enjoying different fortunes at the tournament.

Roy Hodgson

England is blessed with the best squad of them all on paper but on the pitch is where it really matters and so many factors come into play for the three managers who are each charged with achieving different goals.

Roy Hodgson is not realistically expected to return home a champion yet every wrong move provokes howls of outrage and derision.

Tactical shifts and personnel changes have upset the entire country because his Three Lions didn't sweep through their group like the English knights plundered France under King Henry V.

Wales boss Chris Coleman is hailed a genius for winning the group which included England with a squad consisting of just two stars in Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey.

And for Northern Ireland's Michael O'Neill, well every minute of Euro 2016 is a job advert as he makes the most of his moment in the limelight under the campaign banner 'dare to dream'.

Chris Coleman

Coleman and O'Neill have already reached the benchmark for what will be considered successful trips to France. Hodgson has his back to the wall.

But when you take away the science that dominates football these days there is one big difference between England and their next door neighbours: smiles.

Dark clouds come with pressure of course and Hodgson is under an extreme amount - more than he has ever known because he has to do better than the disaster of the last World Cup.

He is fighting for his reputation and it's not going well.

But even pre-Hodgson there has always been an utter lack of joy attached to everything England do and it does have an effect.

England's no.2 Ray Lewington was clocked by the cameras with an A4 sheet of tactics and team line ups under his arm and it went viral.

The very next day Coleman showed a great sense of humour to set up his visual joke with the press cameras - being 'accidentally' spotted with a team sheet under his arm; a team sheet which included Pele, Bobby Moore and Franz Beckenbauer.

Michael O'Neill

Michael O'Neill says he doesn't want to go home because he loves his country hotel near Lyon so much. He added that he didn't want Steven Davis's historic one man kick off to be the highlight of his tournament.

You could argue that Wales and Northern Ireland can afford to relax and lark about because of the low expectations.

Yet at Euro 2012 the German FA - now there's a country with huge demands - ordered the players to cook lunch for the media as part of a get-to-know-you session.

The sight of Bayern Munich colossus Thomas Muller making risotto for journalists is one that will linger.

The Germany players stop and talk in mixed zones without the need for an army of eagle-eyed press officers strangling their personalities.

They can chat, they can say what they feel, they can muck around - just as Mats Hummels did with me on the eve of the important final group game against Northern Ireland.

Meanwhile, England keeper Hart clams up when asked if he is running a darts league in the players' room at the Chantilly training camp.

With England there is an overriding sense of insecurity trickling down from the very top with the FA down to the supporters out here who feel the need to posture and provoke when they have had a few French beers.

It is terribly sad to witness. It may not be as vital to success as resting Wayne Rooney or dropping Harry Kane.

But taking the heat out of big situations is a crucial weapon to help the players relax and open their shoulders and play and win - or lose - with a smile on their faces.


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Gary Bowyer
Gary Bowyer
6th August

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