Roy Hodgson has revealed he turned down the chance of signing Sol Campbell in the summer.
The Fulham manager says the former England centre half was offered to Fulham by his agent as he was out of contract at Portsmouth, but Hodgson says he turned down the option of signing him as he didn’t want to impede the development of Chris Smalling.
He was offered to us, of course, when he was thinking of leaving Portsmouth, like every other club I imagine. But we’ve got a player here called Chris Smalling, who is 19 years of age and is a current England Under 21 international. I think he’s got a very bright future.
We’ve also got Chris Baird, who I think is a very fine player and it would be wrong to start bringing in players whose career is more behind them than in front of them because what it’s going to do is push, in particular, Chris Smalling back a further pace and maybe we’ll never get to know how good he can be.
Sometimes if you’ve got a young player who you believe in, you’ve got to turn down the safer, more experienced option because otherwise the player will never get the experience. At the moment I’m quite happy with Smalling, Baird, Hughes and Hangeland, and I don’t think signing a fifth one would be a great advantage of us.
There a thread a few weeks ago on TIFF bemoaning Hodgson’s reluctance to blood youngsters, which I thought was a bit harsh considering that he has given prospects like Wayne Brown and Chris Smalling debuts. This interview shows that, rather than the suggested ‘two years and I’m off,’ Hodgson’s actually got the long-term future of the club at heart.