Charlie Hodgson? Are You Joking?

23 02 2010

News this morning that Martin Johnson has called up Charlie Hodgson. To the Compulsive Hooker, this decision sums up why Johnson is the wrong man for the job and demonstrates the innate conservatism that limits his selectorial policies.

Hodgson, whilst a fine attacking fly half, has always been a confidence player and someone in and out of the England squads of the last decade.. We remember watching him make his debut against Romania in November 2001 when he collected a record 44 point haul and being highly impressed. However, over the intervening years he has been shown up by his inconsistent kicking, defensive errors worthy of Ronan O’Gara on one of his dreadful days and a general inability to run a top level game.

Johnson, who it should be remembered has not picked him once in his tenure, has now seemingly gone back to players he knows rather than giving one of the young breed of fly halves a go. According to the Daily Telegraph he is ‘one of the form fly halves in the Guiness Premiership’, yet Sale are lying in 10th and with Leeds beating them at the weekend, are deep in their own relegation trouble and we are unsure how well he can actually be playing if Sale are as deep in the mire as they are.

This willingness to pick older players who had been tried, tested and discarded was a strong feature of Andy Robinson’s time in charge which was widely derided. Johnson appears to be going down the same route here and as England fans it is highly frustrating and disappointing.

Fortunately Jonny Wilkinson’s ‘muscle tightness’, which was the reason for the call up is apparently expected to subside so the likelihood is we won’t see Hodgson at 10. Yet the argument stands and as far as we can see we need new blood at the top.

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