London: Autobiographies by former footballer Roy Keane and ex-England cricketer Kevin Pietersen have dominated the headlines this week but the best book England manager Roy Hodgson has read was by former Manchester United manager Dave Sexton.
Sexton, who also managed Chelsea, Queens Park Rangers and the England Under-21s during a long coaching career, died in 2012, but Hodgson recalled his book at the end of a week when Keane attacked his old United manager Alex Ferguson and Pietersen weighed in against many of those he played with for England.
"I’m not a great reader of autobiographies but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t or don’t want to," said Hodgson in the build-up to England`s Euro 2016 Group E qualifying match against Estonia in Tallinn on Sunday.
"I’ve read one or two from American Football and basketball which made a big impression on me but that is on the leadership front, more than the nuances of their sport or explaining their past," said Hodgson.
"The best book I ever read was Tackle Football by Dave Sexton.
"There were elements of leadership but it was his ideas on principles of play and how you should defend and attack. There were interesting things that stuck in my mind about how to deal with players. It was about coaching rather than his life."
Hodgson, 67, could impart plenty of wisdom about coaching after almost 40 years in the trade and is something of a rarity in soccer circles too -- often seen as an erudite, educated man who, rarely for an Englishman, can speak five foreign languages and who has coached extensively overseas too.
His current preoccupation is coaching England towards the European Championships in France and, after a disappointing World Cup in Brazil, England have started the qualifying campaign brightly with wins over Switzerland and San Marino.
They should make it three out of three with a victory in Tallinn over Estonia, who lost 1-0 away to Lithuania on Thursday after beating Slovenia by the same score in their opener.
England are expected to win the group, which comprises Switzerland and San Marino as well as Lithuania, Estonia and Slovenia, but Hodgson was taking nothing for granted before the squad flew to Tallinn on Saturday.
"In the first game Estonia got their three points and only lost by the odd goal on Thursday so the group we are in looks like it will have quite a few tight games and it will not be as simple as some think with one or two teams flying away with it.
"We know San Marino are minnows and they accept their position as minnows -- to be fair to them they are just like a town rather than a country and they don’t do too badly considering.
"They fight with the weapons at their disposal which is to try to keep the score down and make it difficult, in my opinion they are getting better at it.
"I accept the general opinion might be that it will be an easy passage but you would never hear that talk from us as we expect the players to be as fully professional against Estonia as they were against San Marino."
Hodgson explained what he was trying to achieve with an England group that includes plenty of new, young faces following his team`s poor World Cup in Brazil earlier this year when they were eliminated at the group stage.
"I don’t want to have 11 players and nine that come along and are nice blokes who don’t cause you any problems and are good mates with the 11," he told reporters.
"I don’t want that. This is England.
"If we are going to be any good we are going to need the pressure that comes from getting happy for being chosen but also from a player thinking: ‘I`d better do the job that my team mates expect as this guy is breathing down my neck’"