Three Lions coach Roy Hodgson has been given the backing of the Football Association to take the England team through to the 2018 World Cup if England show signs of progress at Euro 2016 according to FA chief executive Martin Glenn.
England will face Wales alongside Russia and Slovakia in the group stage of the European football championships next summer.
And with Hodgson’s contract out at the end of the 2016 tournament; a decent run – for example to the quarter-finals – should be enough to persuade the FA to keep him on for the Russia 2018 World Cup campaign.
Glenn, speaking in Paris ahead of the Euro 2016 draw, said: “If we do well in the Euros then he is our man for 2018 – and I believe we will do well in the Euros.
“If we see progress, and I’m very confident that we will, this will make us feel that Roy is the best person to take this young team forward and really fire at the next two tournaments.
“We are assuming that he will be there but it is a results business and Roy is the first to acknowledge that.”
England made it to the quarter-finals of Euro 2012 when Hodgson had been in charge for a matter of weeks, but the quality of the football was poor, and the World Cup in Brazil last year ended in disappointment with elimination at the group stage.
Glenn insisted Hodgson, 68, was a better manager for those experiences and there had to be a different feel for next summer’s tournament.
He added: “I think we have to show real signs of progress, an England team performing better than in the past two tournaments and playing better. We have said we want to be in a position to win the World Cup in 2022.
“There are three tournaments before then and I want to see progress in each one, each one should be a stepping stone with tangible signs of improvement in results and the way that we play.
“I’m a big believer that people learn. Roy has had two tournaments, he was very early for the first Euros and then he has had the World Cup, he has learned a lot and he has great international experience.
“If you look he has had to re-build a team. He had an ageing team if you like for the last World Cup, he has built something different and has got some different things in his set-up now. Gary Neville is being very helpful to him.”
Security will be a key issue at next summer’s tournament after last month’s terrorist attacks in Paris, one of which targeted the Stade de France, but Glenn said the FA would endeavour to avoid the kind of fortress mentality which the England players so resented at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, when they were stuck for lengthy periods inside their training base.
He said: “You defer to the experts. Life is going on in Paris as normal as it can do – around the corner there has been a climate change march – and I believe that is how it will be for the Euros.
“Roy and the team want to have a more open set-up for sure, having a fortress mentality doesn’t help. It almost artificially builds the pressure that we would want to deflate.
“We just have to be mindful of the fact that there is a different level of security right now so we will be advised by the experts but given those constraints we will want to be more open than we were in South Africa.”