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Can Roy Hodgson keep Watford in the Premier League?

Roy Hodgson_114522

Roy Hodgson is set to return to management with struggling Watford, who sacked Claudio Ranieri on Monday.

In a bid to beat the dreaded drop the 19th-placed Hornets are expected to appoint the Premier League's oldest ever manager, who has never been relegated from England's top-flight.

Hodgson left boyhood club Crystal Palace at the end of last season after four years in charge, during which he maintained the club's Premier League status. However, the former England manager has never officially retired from management, and now at the age of 74 he looks set for one last spell on the touchline.

He'll subsequently renew his partnership with long-term assistant - and former Watford manager - Ray Lewington.

The Athletic's @AdamLeventhal reports that the duo will sign a short-term contract and could even take training on Tuesday afternoon.

Hodgson's near 50-year career in the dugout has taken him far and wide, from club spells at Inter Milan, Malmö FF, and Copenhagen to the international arena with England, Switzerland, UAE, and Finland.

He has previously managed five Premier League clubs, including Blackburn, Fulham, Liverpool, West Brom, and most recently Palace. 

At Fulham Hodgson took over a side struggling at the bottom of the Premier League with just two wins from 20 games. He revived the club, saved them from relegation, then memorably took them to a Europa League final!

Interestingly, the veteran boss has already worked under the Pozzo family before, at Udinese back in 2001. The partnership lasted all of 17 games - shock - spanning just 6 months with his exit coming after he was reportedly quoted as saying that Udinese was "an extremely strange club". Something the Pozzo's evidently did not take kindly to.

So, Hodgson will take over from former Premier League champion Ranieri, who failed to lift Watford following his appointment three-and-a-half-months ago.

The Italian may have picked up two memorable wins - a 5-2 triumph at Everton and a 4-1 thrashing of Man Utd - but there's no getting away from the fact that seven points from a possible 39 is an extremely poor return.

Watford, without a win since November, have just one point from their last eight games which includes a 3-0 hammering at home to relegation rivals Norwich last Friday.

However, on a more positive note, there's still plenty of games left to play (18) and while the club may be down in 19th they are just two points off safety with games in hand.

Watford simply don't look like a team right now, but Hodgson will look to adopt a back to basics approach: he'll up the intensity, get them organised, disciplined, and well-drilled. He knows the league inside out and will draw on every ounce of his experience to keep the Hornets in the Premier League.

At the time of writing Watford are priced at 12/5 (William Hill) to stay up, while they're odds-on at 1/3 to suffer an instant return back to the Championship. His first game in charge will be a huge six-pointer away to Burnley on Saturday 5th February.

Meanwhile, we wonder if Hodgson will look to patch things up with Harry the Hornet after their well-publicised spat back in 2018...

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