England manager Roy Hodgson attracted enormous levels of ridicule and opprobrium yesterday as it was revealed that his three votes for the Ballon d'Or went to three really good players who each had a fantastic World Cup last summer.
Team managers and captains and a representative of the media from each FIFA member nation get three votes towards the prestigious award and the full breakdown is released shortly after the result is made public at a glitzy ceremony in Zürich. Tabloid headlines following the release of the breakdown suggested that Hodgson had somehow made a crass error of judgement in giving his votes to Javier Mascherano, widely recognised as the best player in last summer's World Cup, Phillip Lahm, the captain of the world champions, and star goalkeeper who is credited to an extent for expanding the role into something more than a mere shot-stopper, Manuel Neuer.
Social media lit up with disparaging remarks about the England supremo as he dared to have a different opinion about which players have had the best year and seemingly giving precedence to performances in the major competition of the last 12 months. Some suggested he couldn't possibly have picked Mascherano as having had a great year as he once worked with him at Liverpool and wanted rid. Apparently that makes an objective opinion impossible to attain.
Other people who ought to know better opined that Hodgson's selections belied any attacking philosophy on his part and that it foretells a new, defensive approach to England's football as if attempting to weigh up the extent to how good or otherwise a year every footballer in the world has had is an indicator to how England will line up in a crucial qualifier against Estonia.
The voting for the Ballon d'Or has widely been criticised down the years for being overtly political, with some captains picking solely club and/or national team-mates and coaches pushing their own players to the fore. In not doing this, Hodgson largely brought the criticism on his own head.