Roy Hodgson began life as a former England manager by making a reluctant final appearance in front of the media and warning his successor that Euro 2016 humiliation could “damage” the players he leaves behind.
Hodgson read a prepared statement to announce his resignation after the embarrassing 2-1 defeat by Iceland, declining to take questions, and was not originally expected to face the press on Tuesday either.
But he had a late change of heart, sharing a stage with Football Association chief executive Martin Glenn even though he made it clear he had little interest in airing his views.
“I don’t really know what I’m doing here. I think my statement last night was sufficient,” he said in an terse address. “I’m no longer England manager, my time has been and gone.
“But I was told it was important for everybody I appeared, I suppose that’s partly because people are still smarting from our poor performance and the defeat which has seen us leave the tournament.
“I suppose someone has to stand and take the slings and arrows that come with it.
“I maintain I’m unhappy about it because it’s no longer my job. As you can understand I’m very fragile. It’s certainly the wrong day for me to be talking about it because the emotions are too raw.”
Hodgson’s appearance was preceded, by a matter of minutes, by a statement from his captain Wayne Rooney, shooting down reports that senior squad members had harboured doubts about the manager’s tactics in France.
Rooney deemed those suggestions “completely untrue” and insisted the dressing room held “absolute faith” in his decisions.
In return, Hodgson spoke positively about the future, arguing that leading England was not the impossible task some believe and that success is still possible.
But he also admitted that the possibility of a scarring effect on the young players who experienced the nightmare in Nice.
“It’s a fact of life, one particularly bad game has caused a lot of damage to me personally, to the team and to the team going forward,” he said. “They now have a major bridge to repair. If they’d played better last night, maybe it would not have needed repairing.”
“But it’s results that count and results you get judged on. I’m sure these players will live up to expectations and get better and better.
“I feel progress will be made and one day we will see and England team do very, very well at a tournament and my hope is it will be in 2018.
“I think this group of players as they mature will show they are worthy of wearing the England shirt.”