Former England manager Terry Venables warned yesterday that the Football Association cannot afford to waste time in appointing Fabio Capello's successor and predicted that if the new man is English he would not be paid the £6m a year the Italian earned.
The former England internationals Gary Neville and Bryan Robson also called for the FA to pursue the appointment process quickly.
There has been no contact made yet with Harry Redknapp, the favourite for the job. The FA general secretary Alex Horne said last month the appointment process would begin at "the back end of the season". With 44 days to go until the end of the domestic season on 13 May, Redknapp's Tottenham are in the FA Cup semi-finals and challenging for the Champions League places, begging the question of when a suitable time would be.
The organisation remains privately confident its plan to appoint a new manager allows it enough time to get the right man. But speaking at the Soccerex European forum in Manchester, Venables said: "They have to get someone in there straight away. He's got to know those players not just from what he has seen but how they talk and what they feel is important, really getting into the individuals."
The feeling at the FA is that it makes no difference appointing a manager now instead of May given that there are no internationals between now and 26 May and in Redknapp's case, for instance, there is no chance he would leave Tottenham before the end of the season.
Venables, who managed England at Euro 1996, said that the £6m annual salary paid to Capello was "ridiculous". He said: "I bet an Englishman won't get that. I can't get to grips with that [foreign England managers], I never have. Internationally it's like what went on in wars – you can't trade generals, you have to go for your own. I would rather lose with our own people."
Neville sympathised with the FA's position but said the "vultures are circling" and hinted at the potential for friction between John Terry and Rio Ferdinand. He said: "There's something brewing at the moment. There are situations still not being dealt with. There's manager, there's player, there's captain, there's [the Terry] court case, it's not going to go away."