How the FA can be a winner with Harry's game

Even a part-time role up to Euro 2012 could set England free, writes Martin Hardy

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The Independent Online

Will Harry really walk out on Spurs?

Do not get blinded by the job Harry Redknapp has done at Tottenham, or the backing he has had from the fans and the club support he praised on the courtroom steps this week.

Within him lies a huge patriot, a man immersed in the memory of Sir Bobby Moore. This is the job he has spent 30 years cultivating, from Bournemouth to West Ham and that FA Cup triumph at Portsmouth. He will do what is right for him. If the England position is offered now, it is right for Redknapp. He will be given either a two- or a four-year contract. That is more stability than most club managers can dream of.

Could England cope with a part-time manager?

Well, Fabio Capello managed to attend just one game in the North-east in four years. And at the last World Cup, it was only when Capello was thrust into centre stage that things fell apart. Full-time, in the heat of an actual tournament, was a problem. He seemed to have forgotten what it meant to communicate with players.

Could Redknapp do part-time?

Well, he will have watched more Premier League games than Capello in the past. It is what he does. He talks to his friends about football. He speaks to other managers about football. He has his ear to the ground. To suggest he cannot take care of the England side on a temporary basis until the end of the season – if that is a possibility until he is ready for a permanent role – is ridiculous.

There is an opportunity here for a sort of settling-in period. He does not need to do the job full-time now. England have qualified. The high-intensity, boot-camp barracks that Capello attempted so disastrously in 2010 no longer fit with modern footballers. That rules out the need for an intensive week – or even a fortnight – which the team need to bond together.

Redknapp could have a get-together a couple of days before the Netherlands game, reintroduce himself to players he already knows. Spurs have 12 games of their season remaining after England's friendly this month.

Has anybody done it before?

Joe Mercer was England's caretaker manager for seven games in 1974 – he took charge for the Home Championship – but it was not an appointment with a view to full control.

Sir Alex Ferguson had a run of 10 games in charge of Scotland between 1985 and 1986, after Jock Stein's death. Ferguson took his Aberdeen coach, Archie Knox, with him when he was on international duty. He took Scotland to the World Cup in Mexico but returned to club work.

How would Redknapp change the side's style?

 Nearly four years after Capello took control, England still did not have a style, or their manager's stamp. Perhaps that is as much to blame as anything else for the failure to take to Capello. He could have been cold and incapable of speaking a word of English if there had been a fluency and a language his players brought to the white shirt. Sir Bobby Robson had a semi-final with West Germany. Terry Venables had a victory over the Dutch. They were games when a style emerged that enthralled the nation. Even Sven Goran Eriksson blew away the Germans in their own country. Capello had a few decent away wins in qualifiers and a reminder that England friendlies at Wembley are joyless affairs.

Redknapp does not have to do too much to improve on that. What he will do, if the perception here is correct, is to take the shackles off his players. He will tell Wayne Rooney he has always thought he was one of the best players in the world. He will give Ashley Young greater licence to express himself. Steven Gerrard will be told to play like he does for Liverpool. Frank Lampard will not be pigeon-holed into defensive duties.

Redknapp has waxed hot about England having some of the world's best players. Now they can show him.