London: England manager Roy Hodgson has revealed that he believed his coaching career had come to an end when he stepped down as national coach of Finland in November 2007.
Then aged 60, Hodgson had accepted an offer to return to Inter Milan, where he had twice previously been coach, to work alongside the Italian club`s long-standing president, Massimo Moratti.
But a month later he was appointed manager of Fulham, whom he would lead to the Europa League final in 2010, and after subsequent spells at Liverpool and West Bromwich Albion, he became England manager in May 2012.
Asked if he had an age in mind when he will eventually step away from the game, Hodgson replied: "I retired at 60. At the age of 60, before I went to Fulham, I was on my way to Inter to join Massimo Moratti as his presidential advisor and to go into semi-retirement.
"Here I am eight years later and I`m still working in the biggest job in the country, so that taught me to not make any decisions."
The well-travelled Hodgson, now 67, led England to the quarter-finals at the 2012 European Championships before presiding over a disappointing group-stage exit at last year`s World Cup in Brazil.
His contract is due to expire after Euro 2016 and he refused to be drawn when asked if he could see himself continuing in the role beyond then.
"I prefer to let the future take care of itself, have my clearly focused goals, and as time goes on, we`ll see what develops from there," he told journalists in London this week.
"But I must say, it`s not something that really occupies me at the moment. I`m quite confident that when the day comes, I`ll know what the right thing to do is and then I`ll do it.
"But I don`t want to think about it now because I`ve got important things to think about, I`ve got an important job to do which I really enjoy, and 2018, 2020, we`ll see."
Hodgson has blooded several youngsters since succeeding Fabio Capello and with players such as 20-year-old Raheem Sterling and uncapped Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane, 21, appearing to represent the team`s future, he believes it could be up to six years before they reach their peak.
"I would say with the current crop, if you were going to be realistic with them, I think you could be hoping that in 2020, 2022, they`d be at the peak of their powers," he said.
"But you can win things if you`re good when you`re not at the peak of your powers, so I wouldn`t write off 2016 and 2018 either."