The resignation of Fabio Capello as England manager, four months before Euro 2012 gets underway and just over four years to the day of his first match in charge, has added to the confusion around the Three Lions camp, coming just days after the FA removed John Terry as captain. Without a manager or a captain, England’s preparations for the upcoming tournament could not be in a greater state of disarray.
However, late last year the former Nottingham Forest defender ruled himself out of the running to succeed Capello. Pearce, speaking with talkSPORT said: “At this stage, I don’t have the experience for the job. I believe it’s maybe a job for an older man who has got more experience…I just feel as though it’s not the right time at the moment.” That was, however, in September, when it was expected Capello would remain as England manager until this summer. The Italian’s sudden resignation may yet change Pearce’s viewpoint, should he be approached.
The bookmakers’ overwhelming favourite is, nevertheless, Harry Redknapp. The Tottenham Hotspur manager has in the past spoken of his desire to manage England and is the consensus No 1 pick for many observers, both in the media and on the terraces. Redknapp’s case is buoyed by Spurs’ superb form this season, which has seen the London club play some delightful football on the way to making the anticipated straight-shootout between Manchester United and Manchester City for the Premier League title a distinct three-horse race.
Tottenham’s adventures in the Champions League last season, when Redknapp led the White Hart Lane side to exhilarating performances in Milan, further the former Portsmouth manager’s case, as it offers ample evidence that he can cope with the big occasions. Redknapp though does have his critics. Some feel his perceived lack of tactical nous would hold England back against more thoughtful opposition, while the belief that Redknapp’s strength as a manager lies in manipulating the transfer market would render one of his major qualities irrelevant. Tottenham would also be loath to lose their manager now.
Whoever replaces Capello will face the task of appointing a new captain, the issue the FA’s statement makes plain led to a rupture between the now ex-boss and his former employers. Former skipper Rio Ferdinand ruled himself out of the role, leaving vice-captain Steven Gerrard, Redknapp’s Spurs midfield Scott Parker and goalkeeper Joe Hart amongst the possibilities to take the armband. But who leads the XI onto the field is largely a cosmetic issue for the new manager to decide – of greater overall importance is the identity of Capello’s replacement. Once installed, he will have little time to formulate a squad to take to Ukraine and Poland and settle in to the goldfish bowl that is the life of the England manager.
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