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Hodgson insists that Sir Alex, who will take on a directorial and ambassadorial role at United, will be a difficult act to follow, arguing that his dedication is unparalleled.
"The unexpected news that Sir Alex Ferguson has decided to retire marks the end of an era in football management," Hodgson told the Football Association's official website.
"No-one will be able to match his achievements, his dedication, his support for colleagues in need and his team-building know-how.
"This is a sad day for English football. I personally wish him a happy and successful retirement."