WHEN I played under him at Blackburn Rovers I always found Roy Hodgson to be tactically astute.

His coaching and the way he wanted to set his team up was very European, very Italian.

It was something different for us but, while we took to it, it would prove to be a problem for us.

Every day in training was 11 v 11, every day was very serious.

You had your laughs before and after training but during training it was very intense.

We were not used to that, we were used to having banter all the way through training from start to finish.

We were asking to play five-a-side all the time but we never got our way.

Instead we found ourselves standing in the freezing cold.

When Kenny Dalglish was in charge, even in snow, we wore just shorts and tracksuit tops as we were always on the move. But under Roy, and in the cold of Blackburn, we ended up wearing two full tracksuits because the coaching was so stop-start.

It still worked, though, and we enjoyed a good first season.

But it went wrong in the second season. People look back and criticise Roy for being sacked but it wasn’t as simple as him falling out with one or two players in the dressing room.

It was the fact that we had six key players out injured and for most of the time, myself included, we were playing half fit.

Roy also brought a number of new players in and it changed the way we played. In the end it was all messed up, nobody responded in the correct manner and we were all over the place.

But Roy has recovered since then, he’s matured as a manager and I feel it suits him down to the ground to be a national team coach.

I feel he had been gearing up to be England coach for a long time and now that he’s got the job he’s got to try and bring success at the World Cup.

The group England have been drawn in looks very, very tough on paper. But if Roy can guide England through the group then it will simply be a case of seeing how far they can go.