New Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson admits he is “honoured” to have been given the job at Anfield.
The 62-year-old has impressed at Fulham and when the club decided to part company with former boss Rafael Benitez a month ago the Englishman was their first choice.
Following a couple of weeks of negotiations Hodgson has finally been confirmed as manager on a three-year contract after Liverpool agreed to pay the Cottagers somewhere in the region of £2m to release him from his 12-month rolling contract.
Hodgson arrived at the club’s Melwood training ground this morning to meet those players who had returned for the first day of pre-season, although many of the club’s stars are still on leave after playing at the World Cup.
He will then give his first press conference at 1.30pm at Anfield this afternoon.
“This is the biggest job in club football and I’m honoured to be taking on the role of manager of Britain’s most successful football club,” said Hodgson. “I look forward to meeting the players and the supporters and getting down to work at Melwood.”
One of the new manager’s first major tasks will be to persuade the likes of captain Steven Gerrard and star striker Fernando Torres that they can have a successful future under him.
The pair, along with midfielder Javier Mascherano, are the three big names who have all been linked with moves away this summer.
Torres and Mascherano are still at the World Cup while Gerrard returned home a few days ago after a dismal campaign with England and all three are not expected back at training for some time yet.
Hodgson has less than a month to get to know his players and prepare them for a Europa League third qualifying round first-leg tie on July 29.
He is at least familiar with the prospect, having guided Fulham from that starting point all the way to the final last season, eventually losing to Atletico Madrid.
The former Inter Milan and Switzerland manager then has to begin the task of strengthening a squad, severely lacking strength in depth, on a restricted budget – much as his predecessor had to do in the last couple of seasons of his reign.
Steven Gerrard has given his full backing to Hodgson’s appointment.
“The club have made a good appointment in Roy Hodgson,” the captain told www.liverpoolfc.tv.
“Rafa left a few weeks ago and I know the club were determined to take their time and get the right man for the job.
“Roy is hugely experienced and I believe he is the right man for Liverpool. I think it’s been worth the wait and I’m sure he’s just keen now to get on with it and start to quickly put in place his plans for the new season.”