Football: Awaiting a grand entrance: Jasper Rees on alternatives to Taylor

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TERRY VENABLES

Age: 50

Chief Executive, Spurs

He could very soon be available. While his track record is not quite as glittering as everyone seems to think, he inspires loyalty and respect from players and fans alike, and rarely takes a slagging from the Press. Would give his all to the job but wouldn't twiddle his thumbs between internationals. Always gets the best out of Paul Gascoigne, which would make the next three games much more negotiable. The people's choice.

RON ATKINSON

Age: 54

Manager, Aston Villa

Age is against him, but nothing else is. His sides play like England should - with verve and vigour. No one is more able with the Press, or more immune to their predatorial instincts. He thrives in the transfer market, so he might be hampered by the fact that at international level you can't just throw money at a problem. An Atkinson would come out fighting from day one. The perfect short-term replacement to get England out of jail.

KEVIN KEEGAN

Age: 42

Manager, Newcastle Utd

The hot tip. No coaching qualifications, but that didn't stop Franz Beckenbauer. Drastic action is needed, and Keegan's rec

ord at Newcastle shows he can do a short-term job. No doubts about his powers to motivate: an England under him wouldn't have given up in Oslo, but we'll know more about his tactical nous after he's had a year in the Premier League. Bags of international experience, and hugely popular.

HOWARD WILKINSON

Age: 48

Manager, Leeds Utd

Would have been a better bet a year ago. England can't afford to lose away from home the way Leeds have lately. Good at getting the best out of limited resources, but there's now a question mark against his motivational powers. His teams err on the dour side, but he's not the prophet of the long ball he once was. Would need time, which England don't have. Like Graham Taylor he was a moderate player, and bares his soul similarly in press conferences.

JOE ROYLE

Age: 44

Manager, Oldham Athletic

If we want a Houdini, he's the man. Fresh from three wins out of three that kept Oldham in the Premier League: just what England need. On the other hand, the tendency of his teams to be gung- ho up front and kamikaze at the back might bring about further national heartache. Easy-going, likeable and very loyal. As with Taylor, his appointment might be greeted abroad with a 'Joe Who?' He probably needs to manage a bigger club first.

GLENN HODDLE

Age: 35

Manager, Chelsea

His England would look stylish, though whether he'd have the time or resources to instil his creed is debatable. The sweeper system would return, possibly with the manager at the helm. He'd kick off with an adroit piece of PR by recalling old pal Chris Waddle, but despite Swindon's hair's breadth promotion his track record doesn't reveal enough. Turning Chelsea into winners would be proper proof of his Midas touch. Shrugs off criticism.

TREVOR FRANCIS

Age: 39

Manager, Sheffield Wed

Unless you played for him at QPR, you'd agree that he's hard to dislike, but then they said that about Greenwood and Robson. A Europhile - still a rarity in England - he knows about the pitfalls of football on the Continent. But can he win matches? Not against Arsenal, though on the international stage only Ireland play like them. Good in knock-out competition, but after the Waddle Cup Final debacle one wonders about his powers of motivation and tactical adaptability.

GERRY FRANCIS

Age: 41

Manager, QPR

At Bristol Rovers and at QPR he's made do with the players available. He captained the national side in a previous slump - not necessarily a qualification. His teams have more style than consistency, so we don't know if he can win trophies. More likely to be the next England manager but one. He could use the time to hone his communication skills, which betray a distaste for the limelight.

JACK CHARLTON

Age: 58

Manager, Rep of Ireland

It would go down like a lead balloon over the Irish Sea. Though immune to the Press, he wouldn't necessarily be so popular in his home country, where expectation is so much higher and selection more difficult. He would make England unbeatable, but his take- no-prisoners football can also be score-no-goals football. He'd soon discover that we haven't Ireland's wealth of midfielders. He wouldn't want the job anyway.

ALEX FERGUSON

Age: 51

Manager, Manchester Utd

It would be an imaginative appointment. Apart from Charlton, he's the only one with experience at this level, taking Scotland to Mexico in 1986. On form alone he's your man, but everything else works against him. You can't see the vogue for foreign managers that is prevalent elsewhere finding its way to England. He doesn't enjoy having to win and having the Press on his back, and he'd loathe the gaps between games. But you never know.

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