The England manager’s position is a “horrible job,” according to Sir Alex Ferguson.
Current incumbent Roy Hodgson has endured a week of mixed fortunes and emotions, with World Cup qualification followed by the debate surrounding a joke told at half-time which was leaked to the media.
It was a further demonstration of how quickly the pendulum can swing in such a high-profile job, which can be hard enough in the first place considering the expectations placed on those who wear the shirt.
And, according to former Manchester United manager Ferguson - now retired after 27 glorious years in charge at Old Trafford - it is not a position he would have relished.
In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, given ahead of the release of his autobiography, the Scot said: “I don’t think the manager’s job with England is a good one. I think it’s a horrible job.
“For instance, (Football Association chairman) Greg Dyke comes out and says they’re going to win the World Cup in 2022. He may know something about football - and I’m sure he’s trying to learn what’s going on - but from grassroots levels right up to the national team, that is a massive job.
“Managers have tried different ways of managing the press. Some have tried to curry favour with some and not others. But because England haven’t won the World Cup since 1966 they’re all going up the same alley. Unless you win, it’s a hard job.”
Despite qualifying for the tournament in Brazil, England have not enjoyed a smooth ride over the last two years.
Former striker Gary Lineker was particularly critical of their performances at one stage, much to Hodgson’s annoyance, with the issue resolved by the latter appearing as a guest on Lineker’s Match of the Day show a fortnight ago.
Ferguson, who had his fair share of issues with the media, was surprised that Hodgson got so hot under the collar about the criticism.
“Some of the media are pro, some are against, some are middle-of-the-road. Roy’s reaction was interesting. Roy’s a manager of great experience. I was surprised he got annoyed by Gary Lineker. Gary always comes across with wee throwaway lines. I was surprised Roy got himself annoyed with that.”