Dave Seddon's Euro 2016 Press View

Joe Hart and Dele Alli following the humiliating exit at the hands of IcelandJoe Hart and Dele Alli following the humiliating exit at the hands of Iceland
Joe Hart and Dele Alli following the humiliating exit at the hands of Iceland
So, what has happened to the cuddly toy lion which the England players carted around Euro 2016?

Last seen being loaded into the back of a lorry together with skip-fulls of kit and boots outside a hotel in Nice, the mascot has yet to surface.

Had Roy Hodgson had his way, he too would have slipped out of France in a similar anonymous manner to our friendly lion.

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Hodgson saw it as acceptable to resign and run without a word of explanation, following England’s sorry defeat to Iceland on Monday night.

A prepared statement to announce he was stepping down as coach was sufficient in his eyes. Only very reluctantly did Hodgson appear in front of the press the following afternoon to field questions.

That was poor form. After more than four years in the job and two tournament failures, he owed the public more.

In my opinion, Hodgson did things the wrong way round on Monday and Tuesday.

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Resigning within 20 minutes of the final whistle was not necessary – in some ways it took the limelight away from Iceland, who deserved so much praise for their victory.

What I wanted to hear from Hodgson post-match was an explanation of tactics and selection, answers as to why the England players had performed so miserably on the big stage.

Why was Raheem Sterling given another start, why not Jamie Vardy or Adam Lallana from the word go? I’m not the biggest fan of Lallana but he had produced some moments of creativity in the group stages.

I could go on. Why Jack Wilshere, visibly short of match fitness, was put on at half-time when there were other options to replace Eric Dier, who was struggling with illness?

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And why was the introduction of Marcus Rashford left so late in the game?

Those were the questions which Hodgson should have been fielding after the game, satisfying people’s curiosity and bewilderment.

We can only guess at the reasons behind those decisions because they have still be answered and probably never will be.

Instead, he delivered his goodbye speech, the timing of which fuelled rumours that its origins were before the final whistle had even blown.

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That could have been left until the following day, allowing for a period of reflection.

The Euro exit debate – the football version – has raged ever since Monday night.

Another early exit from a tournament and to a country perceived as minnows.

Let us pause at this moment to praise Iceland, their 2-1 win totally deserved. They might have gone retro by playing 4-4-2 and hurling long throw-ins into the box, but it was damned effective.

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On the back page of Monday’s Evening Post, former Preston and Iceland striker Bjarki Gunnlaugsson had stated that his country were perfectly capable of causing England problems.

I read similar interviews in other local papers with those of an Icelandic background, their words ringing true by 9.50pm that evening.

Reacting to a tournament exit is fast becoming a national sport in this country.

Investigations are promised, advice sought and pundits get the chance to air their views.

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To see Glenn Hoddle linked with the England job, either in a caretaker capacity or permanently, alarmed me.

During the commentary, he reasoned that England had conceded the first goal because the players were not used to defending against long throw-ins during Premier League matches.

Really? I would counter that many League One and Two teams are sufficiently drilled to defend in such circumstances. Somehow, England has to find its own identity when it comes to the national team and a structure put in place to perform in major tournaments.

A way needs to be found where players perform on the international stage in the same way they do for their clubs, rather than seemingly being scared stiff.

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Is there really more pressure on them when they play for England? Expectations have been low these last couple of tournaments, so don’t give me the excuse of a demanding fan base and media making things so difficult.

Away from England’s woes, we are now into the quarter-final stages of the Euros and the competition need a boost from somewhere.

The first two rounds of group games in this expanded tournament were thoroughly enjoyable but it has been a dull plod from then onwards, with just a couple of exceptions.