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Fulham owner Al Fayed says Hodgson will remain as boss

By Dan Roan
BBC sports correspondent

Fulham owner Mohammed Al Fayed
Al Fayed bought Fulham when the club was in the old second division

Mohamed Al Fayed is confident Roy Hodgson will remain as Fulham manager despite suggestions he could become a target for England or rival clubs.

"I don't think he'll leave me," said Cottagers owner Al Fayed.

"I'm sure he'll have lots of approaches from other clubs but I give him anything he wants to reach results and we have a good relationship."

Current England boss Fabio Capello is contracted until 2012 but there is talk he could quit if he wins the World Cup.

Liverpool could also be searching for a new coach in the summer if Rafael Benitez leaves or is sacked.

As for Hodgson, his stock has risen hugely this season after guiding Fulham to the brink of the Europa League final.

The Londoners face Hamburg in the second leg of their semi-final on Thursday, having drawn the first game 0-0 in Germany.

"I think it's a great achievement for a manager who I respect immensely," Al Fayed told BBC Sport. "He's a maestro, the way he trains the players and makes them want to win.

It's not easy, it costs lots of money, but it's a pleasure to see a club come up from the third division to reach this level

Mohammed Al-Fayed

"To build the team who have the will to win is a tremendous achievement and I'm very happy, I'm very grateful and I respect him immensely."

Hodgson, 62, became boss of Fulham at the end of 2007.

The former Switzerland and Finland manager kept the Cottagers up that season before steering them to a stunning seventh place in the Premier League in his first full campaign in charge.

They currently lie 12th after another solid season, a far cry from 1997, when Al-Fayed bought the club as they languished in the old second division.

"I have great satisfaction," said Al Fayed. "It's not easy, it costs lots of money, but it's a pleasure to see a club come up from the third division to reach this level. I'm very satisfied."

With 19 goals this season, Fulham striker Bobby Zamora is in contention for England's World Cup squad, and Al-Fayed believes he should go to South Africa.

Al Fayed pays tribute to Hodgson

"Of course, definitely," said Al Fayed. "Capello would be very wise (to take him)."

Al Fayed was the first foreigner to buy a Premier League club, and the Egyptian-born businessman said he was saddened by the plight of Portsmouth, who recently became the first top-flight club to enter administration.

"I feel sorry for Portsmouth and I hope it is an example to others," said Al Fayed, adding: "I don't think the Premier League and the FA are doing enough to help clubs. I always voice my complaints in meetings."

Since his takeover of Fulham in 1997, the Cottagers have accumulated debts of £167.7m, most of it owed to their benefactor.

"Ambition and common sense have to go together," he added. "It's a problem for any foreign owner to not appreciate that they own a British football club."

When asked if a salary cap would help football finances, he said: "I don't think it's the right thing to do. Players are like movie stars, if you score you deserve. You can't put a limit on that."

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see also
Fulham v Hamburg (agg 0-0)
28 Apr 10 |  Europe
Hodgson worry over Zamora fitness
23 Apr 10 |  Europe
Hamburg 0-0 Fulham
22 Apr 10 |  Europe
Hodgson extends Fulham contract
30 Dec 09 |  Fulham

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