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May 25, 2012

Olsen: Hodgson is a revolutionary

Norway coach Egil Olsen has hailed Roy Hodgson as one of football's innovators as he prepares to do battle against England in an international friendly on Saturday night.

• Preview: Norway v England
• Gerrard thrilled to lead England

Hodgson, 65, cut his managerial teeth in Scandinavia with Swedish sides Halmstad, Oddevold, Orebro and Malmo before going on to lead clubs in the Premier League and Serie A.

The Englishman's varied career has also taken in a spell with Norwegian outfit Viking, and Olsen feels that Hodgson made a long-standing impression on football in Northern Europe.

"Roy was a big influence on football in this region," Olsen said. "He came together with Bob Houghton [who managed in Sweden at the same time as Hodgson] and started a revolution in terms of how football should be played.

"He was early with things like zonal defence and a flat back four, new things at that time, and a big influence on Norwegian football.

"We are quite close in our philosophies and I believe it is time England adapted a more direct approach. That's my opinion. I am a more direct manager.

"If you have strengths, you should play to them. In Norway it is a big difference between me and other coaches. They don't agree with me.''

Hodgson's first match in charge of England comes in Oslo on Saturday night, but Olsen is unsure whether the former Fulham and West Brom boss will be able to lead the Three Lions to a successful European Championship camapign next month.

"Roy has been national for coach for many countries and has had a lot of experience. It is a lucky choice for England and good luck to him," Olsen said. "I hope he loses to us before winning the rest of his matches. But England should be number one or two in their European group.

"After that it is a cup: quarter-finals, semi-finals, and you never know what will happen. It's a random chance. It is much, much tougher to be English manager than Norwegian, but the salary is better!''

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