Ray Wilkins gives surprise backing to former Chelsea and Watford man for England job

Aston Villa coach Ray Wilkins before the match

Ray Wilkins has given his surprise backing to former Chelsea and Watford boss Gianluca Vialli to replace Roy Hodgson as England manager.

England head coach Roy HodgsonDeparted: Former England boss Roy Hodgson

Hodgson resigned after his side crashed out of Euro 2016 with a 2-1 defeat to Iceland in what goes down as one of the most embarrassing nights in English football history.

England limped into the last 16 after toiling to a second place finish in the group stages behind Wales.

That failure saw them entered into the perceived tougher side of the draw where it looked like they would face Portugal until a late goal from Iceland in their last group game.

But it only provided the platform for the Three Lions to truly embarrass a nation against one of the minnows of international football.

Picture Supplied by Action ImagesGianluca Vialli

'I'm going to throw a curve ball in'

Gareth Southgate, former England boss Glenn Hoddle and Eddie Howe are the early favourites for the job, according to Oddschecker.

But speaking on talkSPORT, former Manchester United, Chelsea and Queens Park Rangers star Wilkins has backed a rank outsider for the role after working alongside him at the Blues and Hornets.

"I'm going to throw a curve ball in, Luca Vialli," Wilkins said on Alan Brazil's Sports Breakfast.

"Tactically exceptional, still young enough, hasn't worked in football yes for a couple of years, and people out there are just going to be saying 'yea you just want to get in on the back of Luca'.

"I was listening to Luca on the telly watching the Italy vs Spain game, he talks so much sense. He's good, he's good at what he does, he's English in his thinking, he likes the way the English play, he loves that tactical side of the game.

"It will never happen but there's another little one just to look at in a younger man that has still got a lot to offer."

Aston Villa coach Ray Wilkins before the matchRay Wilkins

Cynics will be gunning for Wilkins but he made some salient points

While Wilkins joked the cynics would be gunning for him over his suggestion given the fact he was Viall's assistanti at Chelsea and Watford, his sentiments were genuine.

And Wilkins is right that Vialli has talked a lot of sense in his role as a TV pundit during the Euros.


Young but too inactive

But while he is still relatively young at 51, he has not managed since leaving Watford back in 2002 - 14 years ago.

That is a long time for anyone to be out of the game and it would be an even bigger shock than the Iceland defeat itself were the FA to take Wilkins' advice.

Register for CHELSEA team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch