Former Croatia coach and current West Ham boss Slaven Bilić has had his name chucked in the mix as a potential replacement for Roy Hodgson, who resigned as England manager following their humiliating defeat to Iceland at EURO 2016…
England woke up this morning with the prospect of finding a new manager after Hodgson expectedly stood down moments after their exit at the hands of Iceland. The defeat has been called the worst in England’s history by the scribes, who then turned their attention to who would be next in charge.
One name which has been banded about, and has received public support, is none other than former Croatian defender and coach Bilić. The 47-year-old has impressed in the UK since taking charge of West Ham last season, where he broke a number of club records in leading them into 7th position and a Europa Cup spot. Bilić led West Ham to its highest number of points with 62, the highest number of goals in a season with 65, a positive goal difference for the first time in the Premier League with +14, the least number of games lost in a season with eight and the lowest number of away defeats with five.
Bilić has been listed by the bookies in the UK as 25/1 to take over the England job, and his support is growing.
“It is highly unlikely he would take the job but I would ask Bilic if he can be tempted away from West Ham United. His punditry on ITV has given the public an insight into what those who know him already knew: he is an insightful, shrewd, inspirational and canny manager. He is a realist also and says it how it is while showing ambition and toughness. Bilic did a superb job with Croatia and maybe managing England would be difficult for such a patriot but he has a love of the country and the charisma also to re-engage with a disillusioned public and media,” wrote The Telegraph’s Jason Burt.
Sam Cunningham from the Daily Mail was just as enthusiastic for the former Hajduk Split man to take the job.
“He is excellent at man-management, a strong tactician and already has experience managing a national team. Bilic may not be English, and many argue it should at least go to a Brit, but Bilic is popular in England and knows the country, culture, and, most importantly, English football well. The Croatian is honest and talks straight, so the fans won’t be fed rubbish which breeds disillusionment. And won’t be read pre-prepared statements saying things like, ‘they have done fantastically, and done everything asked of them’ about his squad, five minutes after they have been knocked out of the last 16 of the European Championship by Iceland.
Other names in the hat have included Arsene Wenger, Jose Mourihno, Alan Pardew, Brendan Rodgers and Gareth Southgate.