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Hurst: England can reach Euro 2012 semi-final without a manager

However, the West Ham legend, famous for striking a hat-trick in the 1966 World Cup final against West Germany, has backed Roy Hodgson to be handed the job before the tournament

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Former England striker Geoff Hurst has backed Roy Hodgson's appointment as the next manager of the national side, stating that whoever is at the helm is unimportant and that, with the players available, the squad are more than capable of reaching the semi-finals of Euro 2012.

Hurst is known to have backed Harry Redknapp for the vacant post in the past, but Hodgson has emerged as a surprise favourite since the FA were granted permission to speak to the West Brom boss last night.

However the 70-year-old has dismissed the need for a manager, stating that the talents of the players are of greater significance.

"Whether we had a manager or not, I still think we are capable of getting at least to the semi-finals," Hurst told the Press Association.

"I don't see any reason why we can't get to that level and if we can, you never know what could happen."

Previous manager Fabio Capello resigned in February and Sunday’s approach to West Brom to speak to Hodgson signals the first time the FA have made a move to name the Italian’s successor and Hurst worries that this delay could have had a detrimental impact on the team's preparations before this summer's European Championships.

"Roy has not been involved in the preparations to date and that's not ideal,” Hurst continued.

"When you have a manager in place quite a while before, the preparation is going to be very natural, as it was with us in 1966."

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However, Hurst believes the extended delay could work in the governing body and Hodgson’s favour, stating that the levels of expectation may have been dampened somewhat by the events of recent months, and that the current West Brom boss may be able to work without the levels of pressure usually associated with the England manager.

"In some respects, I see that as a positive. It might take the pressure off, certainly from the media and the fans, to be successful this year,” he continued.

"That could be a good thing because expectation is huge on the manager and the players."

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