What do Roy Hodgson’s Ballon D’Or picks say about England?

Javier Mascherano is the best player on the planet according to the England manager. OK then...

imagenotavailable1

Poor Roy Hodgson. Even when he’s not picking England teams he gets stick for his selections.

Advertisement

The England manager caused consternation after it was revealed he hadn’t voted for either Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi in Fifa’s Ballon d’Or ballot.

Instead he picked Barcelona holding midfielder Javier Mascherano as the world’s best player, followed by German defender Philipp Lahm and goalkeeper Manuel Neuer. 

Solid at the back, perhaps, but how can Hodgson not recognise the attacking flair of Ronaldo and Messi?

(Wales manager Chris Coleman picked Gareth Bale, Ronaldo and German midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger.)

Other former players waded in with their comments too, suggesting the England manager’s picks reflected a lack of ambition for the national side.

But it wasn’t all criticism. Sky News sports correspondent Paul Kelso had his back.

As did (a few) other users online.

The Daily Telegraph’s Henry Winter, who also had a vote for the Ballon d’Or (1. Ronaldo, 2. Neuer, 3. Lahm), was willing to give Hodgson the benefit of the doubt on BBC Radio 5 Live.

“To be kind, I hope Hodgson was sending out a message to English football that we need to develop holding midfielders who also take responsibility, which Mascherano did at the World Cup,” he told the station. “He was brilliant at the World Cup, but I wouldn’t have had him in my top ten.”

Hodgson’s picks showed that he valued performance for country over club – it’s just a shame England players can’t match that ambition.

Does it make any difference to how he manages England? Of course not. Although…

Advertisement

Football, hey? Tactical chat aside, some of the Roy-action online has been brilliant.