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Page last updated at 15:40 GMT, Wednesday, 23 June 2010 16:40 UK

The tricky art of man-management

Wayne Rooney complains about England fans booing after the Algeria game
Rooney snapped after England fans booed at the end of the Algeria game

Whether it is rumours of unrest in the England camp or outright revolution in the French squad, one of the ongoing themes of this World Cup has been player power.

Fulham boss Roy Hodgson, part of the BBC Sport team in Cape Town, has been in charge of 15 sides during his 34-year managerial career - including Switzerland, Finland and the United Arab Emirates at international level.

Hodgson, who led the Swiss to the last 16 of the 1994 World Cup in the United States, tells BBC Sport about his own man-management strategies and how he tries to keep his players happy.

KEEPING PLAYER POWER IN CHECK

"There is no hard and fast rule to handling input from players but there are certain principles that I adhere to.

"One of them concerns my team selection and footballing philosophy - the way I want my team and individuals within it to play.

"The manager has to take the lead and say 'this is the way we are are approaching this game and this is how we need to work'. It is not a particularly democratic situation.

As a club manager, I canvas the opinions of senior players on whether we travel to games by train or plane, our choice of hotel, or when we start training.

"But there are lots of other areas where it is very wise to ask players for their opinions. Doing that generates some good feeling within the squad and does not make the players feel like they are being treated as children.

"As a club manager, I canvas the opinions of senior players on whether we travel to games by train or plane, our choice of hotel, or when we start training.

"It would be foolish, in my opinion, to impose rules like training at 10am if the players feel it would aid their preparation to train later or earlier. But, in a group of 20-odd players, it is impossible to take everyone's opinion into account.

"Sometimes I say to the captain or vice-captain 'I'm thinking of this, can you have a word with the players' but it would never have anything to do with tactics."

CLUB OR COUNTRY

"You get more time in terms of preparation as an international manager because you have less daily pressures and more time to really study the opposition and put dossiers together.

"However, you know your squad better at club level because you see them most days. You still know the players well as an international manager because you have studied them so often in games and in training, but you are not with them on such a regular basis.

"I think leadership and management are fairly constant whether you are a club manager or an international one. It is down to the way you deal with people, the emphasis you lay on things like respect and the adherence to self-discipline and team ethics.

"Those are the sort of things that are going to be important to you whether you are with a club team or a national team. I do not think there is a great deal of difference."

DEALING WITH UNHAPPY PLAYERS

"I always tell my players what I want them to bring to the team. Their job then is to interpret the roles they have been given.

"I would always hope my players are happy because I am a great believer in putting round pegs in round holes. If you move players around and play them out of position, then there is a risk they might react negatively.

The scenario Raymond Domenech faced is not one I have been in - it is not one you come across very often in football.

"As a manager, I live in a very confrontational world. I never seek it but it is impossible to avoid because football is an emotional game sometimes. If confrontation rears its ugly head, you cannot shy away from it.

"Once things get as far down the line as they did with the France squad at the World Cup, then, as manager, you are in trouble whatever you do.

"The scenario Raymond Domenech faced is not one I have been in - it is not one you come across very often in football - but the problems had been escalating for months and he was in a no-win situation."

THE WORLD CUP PRESSURE-COOKER

"At a World Cup, players are in a cage, albeit a luxurious one. They cannot lead their normal lives and are away from their families, friends, wives, girlfriends and children.

"Of course, it is nice to be at a World Cup but when you are out there taking part in one, then the reality hits home. The players have long days with very little training, are totally immersed in football and are living on their own in a hotel room miles from anywhere.

"As a manager, you are dealing with young men, often with young families, who are getting phone calls from their children saying 'Daddy, I miss you, when are you coming back home?'

"You try to keep those players happy and motivated but you cannot divorce the human side of things from football because a footballer is a human being.

"We can be harsh on players. Just because they have a particular skill does not make them machines. We need to give them allowances for the fact they might have other things going on in their life."

KEEPING A HAPPY CAMP

"When I was manager of Switzerland, I did the usual thing, providing games rooms for the players and allowing visits from wives and so on as much as I could.

"You provide what you can in terms of entertainment but how many films can you watch and how many card games can you play? The longer you go on, the harder it is, so it is very important that the chemistry in the group is right.

You need some players in your squad who are good for the group. They might not take part much in the games but they can still have an important role to play.

"That is why you need some players in your squad who are good for the group. They might not take part much in the games but they can still have an important role to play.

"What is important is what they bring to training, whether they retain their enthusiasm and desire when they are not getting any playing time, and whether they contribute to the general bonhomie around the place.

"At the end of the day, it does not matter what you do, whether you are a disciplinarian or not. At a World Cup, you are basically saying to every player 'right, for the next five or six weeks you and 22 others are going to stay in a luxury hotel and have very little to do'."

Roy Hodgson was talking to BBC Sport's Chris Bevan



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see also
Team tracker and Predictor
27 May 10 |  World Cup 2010
World Cup venues
05 Dec 09 |  World Cup 2010
French chief quits after 'fiasco'
28 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
France stars 'may boycott match'
21 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Capello backs 'important' Terry
22 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Terry sorry for England criticism
22 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Terry 'mistake' irritates Capello
21 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
No rift in England camp - Lampard
21 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Capello 'to quit if England exit'
20 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010


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