Redknapp favorite as English FA hunts for coach
Harry Redknapp. AFP photoEngland football chiefs vowed not to rush their search for a successor to Fabio Capello yesterday as Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp remained tight-lipped over taking the job.
Speaking at a Wembley press conference after one of the most dramatic 24 hours in English football history, Football Association chairman David Bernstein defended the organization’s handling of Capello’s exit.
The 65-year-old Italian resigned a day earlier, unhappy at the FA decision to strip John Terry of the England captaincy last week following the delay of his trial for racially abusing QPR player Anton Ferdinand.
Bernstein said Capello’s decision to publicly air his criticism of the decision in comments to Italian media had created an “unsatisfactory situation” before crunch talks at Wembley.
“Of course it’s regrettable when a manager leaves like this. Fabio has had a great record, but it’s happened now,” Bernstein said.
“Could it have been avoided? We had a very frank meeting with Fabio. It was very civilised and at the end of it he decided he felt he had to go. I can’t really add to that.
“The matter arising from the English team captaincy issue and from Fabio’s statement on Sunday and the consequential issues meant that I felt when Fabio offered the resignation it was in the interests of the FA and English football the right thing to do.”
Bernstein confirmed that Under-21 manager Stuart Pearce would take charge of England’s squad for the friendly against the Netherlands on February 29, while an exhaustive search would take place for the best candidate.
“We will do this as quickly and sensibly as we can but don’t want to rush the process. We want to to it properly, do it professionally.
“We will put a shortlist together of key people. We will do it as soon as we can. It will be a major priority for us.” Bernstein also would not rule out the possibility of England looking to an overseas coach to replace Capello.
“No, he will not definitely be English,” Bernstein said.
“Clearly there is a preference for an English or British person, but in the end we want the best person.” Many regard Redknapp -- cleared of tax evasion charges on Wednesday -- as the only viable candidate to replace Capello.
However, Redknapp said yesterday his focus was solely on preparing Tottenham, third in the Premier League, for their match against Newcastle this weekend.
“I’ve not even thought about it (the England job). I’ve got a job to do,” Redknapp told Sky Sports outside his home in Poole, south-west England.
“I’ve got a big game on Saturday for Tottenham. Tottenham is my focus.”
Asked whether he might be in charge of England by the start of Euro 2012, Redknapp insisted: “I’ve never thought about it.
“They (the Football Association) will make whatever decision they want to make. Hopefully it’ll be the right decision for the country but my focus is all on Tottenham.”
Earlier, former England manager Graham Taylor said Redknapp was “made for the job” of leading the national team, adding the Londoner was at the right stage of his career to take on the challenge.
“I just think that taking the England job is far better when you’re coming towards the end of your career than when you’re a young man. I think Harry is in many respects made for the job,” Taylor told the BBC.
Taylor said few candidates could rival Redknapp if he chose to apply for the job.
a”The public want him, the players want him, sections of the media want him, so that’s how it looks at the moment,” Taylor said.
Meanwhile Capello broke his silence in a short statement dealing with his departure.
“I would like to thank all players, staff and Football Association for the professionalism they have shown during my years as manager of the English National Team,” it read.
“A very special thanks to all the supporters: they’ve always supported the team and me in our job.
“I wish all of them every success in achieving all their sporting goals.”