The announcement that Fabio Capello had resigned as England boss was arguably the most shocking piece of news since that day when there were no racism stories.
The Italian had decided the FA decision to strip John Terry of the captaincy was an issue he couldn’t allow as a matter of principle and therefore found it impossible to carry on as the national boss. The full details of whether he jumped or was pushed as of yet have not come out, but with an FA statement due out soon- possibly even by the time you’re reading this- the full reasons behind Capello’s surprise departure will become clearer.
The ink had barely dried on Capello’s resignation letter, before every news outlet in the world was proclaiming the-very- recently exonerated ‘Arry Redknapp as the heir apparent to the England job.
A lot of bookies have even stopped taking bets on the Spurs boss becoming the next England manager such is the seeming certainty of his imminent appointment- or should that be coronation? Let’s not pretend that Redknapp’s succession to the stewardship of the national side is a certainty, after all with Spurs chasing Champions League football for next season there’s still a slim chance Tottenham Chairman Daniel Levy may play hardball and force the FA to look elsewhere. Although it’s unlikely anyone but Redknapp will get the job, it’s worth having a look at the leading candidates, for a what’s often termed “the impossible job.”
1. Harry Redknapp. Let’s not pretend. Harry Redknapp is such favourite if you’re a betting man it’s probably better for you to put money on when he’ll LEAVE the England job rather than whether he’ll get it. The question is, should he be given the job? Is he the best man to lead the national team into the Euros?
With over 30 years of managerial experience, a major English trophy win under his belt, not to mention the fact that he’s English, ‘Arry seems to tick all the boxes. What could and probably will clinch it for Redknapp though is the fact that he’s enjoying the sort of success no other English manager has enjoyed in the Premier League for over a decade.
With Redknapp’s Spurs side still in with an, albeit slight, chance of winning the league and looking certainties for a second Champions League spot in three years, the man who only two days ago was facing a possible jail term, has one of the brightest stars in football.
2.Stuart Pearce. With the former Man City boss and current England under 21 coach set to manage England for the upcoming friendly against the Netherlands, its been suggested Pearce may be ideal to lead the national side on a more permeant basis, should Redknapp be unavailable. Pearce’s managerial career at Manchester City was somewhat underwhelming, where despite a bright first season, just missing out on a UEFA cup place, his side were subsequently nearer the bottom than the top of the league for the next two seasons.
As under 21 coach Pearce lead his team to the final of the European championships in 2009 where they were beaten 4-0 by Germany. Pearce came in for some criticism for failing to take enough strikers as with Gabriel Agbonlahor and Frazier Campbell suspended for the final, had seen the likes of The Walcott and James Milner being used as forwards. The 2011 Euros were a lot worse with England being eliminated in the group stage and Pearce enduring some criticism for having something of a captaincy merry-go-round and failing to win a game. Pearce’s role as coach under Capello may be seen as either a good thing or bad one depending on your point of view. Yes Pearce has gained valuable experience but where was he in South Africa when Capello seemed to lose the plot somewhat?
3. Guus Hiddink. If ever a man knew how to manage a national team then its the former Chelsea boss. Hiddink is still a popular figure at Stamford Bridge after delivering an FA Cup and being desperately unlucky to miss out on a Champions League final thanks to some shall we say, questionable refereeing. When it comes to national sides though, few can match the Dutchman’s record, having taken the Dutch national side to the European quarter finals in 1996 and World Cup semi finals in 1998 and the unfancied South Koreans to the same stage on home soil in 2002. Hiddink has also managed the Russians to a Euro semi final and the Australians to the second round of the world cup. Add to these achievements 25 years coaching experience and a European Cup many years ago with PSV Eindhoven and you have a very capable man, who also seems to get along with almost everyone he meets. The only negative may be his recent failure as boss of the Turkish national side to qualify for Euro 2012.
4. Jose Mourinho. Who wouldn’t want the Special One? After all, countless domestic titles and trophies, both in Portugal, Italy and here as boss of Chelsea, not to mention the all important two Champions League wins one of which came as part of a ‘treble’ at Internazionale. Then theres the success Mourinho’s having at the moment, where despite his problems with the Real Madrid fans/board whoever he looks destined to deliver La Liga to the Bernabeu ending three years of Barcelona domestic dominance. The problem is Mourinho is highly unlikely to want to tie himself down to the England job for more than the time it takes to finish at Madrid at the end of the Spanish season and start accepting an offer from his new club after Euro 2012. There’s also the fact that the Special One has declared he’d one day like to manage Portugal, at the end of his club career, which may negate him wanting to manage any other national sides.
5. Roy Hodgson. According to the bookies, the West Brom manager is the fifth favourite to land the England job, no doubt because he’s one of only two English managers managing in the top flight- Alan Pardew is naturally sixth favourite.
Hodgson may be liked and admired by almost every football fan in the country- except those who follow Liverpool, but that doesn’t mean he’s the right man for the job. One thing Hodgson does have going for him is experience, with over 40, yes 40, years of coaching and managing experience. Hodgson has also managed at international level taking Switzerland to the third ranked team in the world at one point. The problem for Hodgson is he;s never quite been considered one of the very top managers and other than spells at Inter and that very brief time at Liverpool has spent nearly all his career at less fancied clubs and even national sides.
Hodgson’s failure at Anfield, where he was also a tad unfortunate to take over at the back of the Hicks Gilette ownership, merely added to the sense that he’s more suited to something smaller- and jobs don’t get much bigger than managing England.