• FA chairman says he is a ‘big fan’ of manager
• Progression from group would be considered a success
Greg Dyke has refused to be drawn on Roy Hodgson’s future after the World Cup but said that emerging from a difficult group would be considered a success.
The Football Association chairman said he was a “big fan” of Hodgson, who is contracted through to Euro 2016 and is keen to carry on as England manager no matter what happens at the World Cup, but added that it was “not appropriate” to discuss the England manager’s future at this stage.
Asked whether Hodgson would remain in post regardless of how the team performed, Dyke said: “Well who knows? He’s contracted to. We wouldn’t want to discuss what happens to him afterwards because this is the moment when things should be going well. So it’s not appropriate to discuss that now. But I’m a big fan of Roy’s.”
Dyke also defended his throat-slitting verdict on England’s World Cup chances as a joke, after Hodgson, when pressed, indicated the gesture at the draw in December was a mistake.
“The gesture was a joke,” Dyke said. “We sat there and said there were two things we didn’t want. We didn’t want Italy and we didn’t want Manaus, and we got both. It was a joke, and you sometimes have to accept there’s a sense of humour in the world.”
Hodgson said that the gesture – made in jest after England had been drawn in statistically the toughest group with Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica – was a “minor thing” but that Dyke should not have done it.
“Should one make a gesture like that? I presume not but it seems such a minor thing,” said Hodgson.
Dyke said that emerging from the group would be seen as success and that further progress would then be in the lap of the Gods. He said that the more realistic expectations surrounding England were partly because the group was so difficult.
“If the French don’t get out of their group I think they will be committing suicide. We are in a tough group and a lot of it is going to be about that first game.”
The FA chairman, who will fly to join England in Manaus after the Fifa Congress on Wednesday, said he was struck by the low-key nature of the buildup in São Paulo before Thursday’s opening match between Brazil and Croatia.
“I’m told there’s all sorts of politics,” Dyke said. “There is real concern about the protesters. Some people don’t want Brazil to win because they don’t want the government to get re-elected.
“The people I’ve been talking to are of the view that it’s very quiet. It does bring up the question for the future because clearly there are a lot of people in this country who think too much money has been spent when there are extremes of poverty.”