Capello makes public pitch for 'exciting' England challenge

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The Independent Football

Highly successful club manager Fabio Capello yesterday spoke about the vacant England job and found his odds shortening as a result. Three days after sacking Steve McClaren, however, the Football Association have not ruled anyone in or out. They will sound out a number of candidates including Aston Villa's Martin O'Neill, despite his initial lack of interest after being rejected 18 months ago, and Jose Mourinho, whose inclination is to take up another post in club football in either Spain or Italy.

Capello's preference is to move in the other direction and try international football for the first time. Speaking on the BBC's Football Focus, he said: "The challenge of coaching a national side like England would be something different. The job is not about coaching every day. It would be a very difficult challenge but a very exciting one." Capello, right, added: "I was convinced Mourinho would have accepted. The fact he has opted to step aside means he has another aim. But I'm older than him."

Significantly, the 61 year-old, who received approval from McClaren's right-hand man Terry Venables yesterday, conducted the interview in Italian, his English currently being poor. He has worked in his home country with Milan, Roma and Juventus, handling big names and winning Serie A with all three as well as the Champions' League with Milan in 1994. He moved abroad for the first time to join Real Madrid, where he won the Spanish league as well.

England legend Alan Shearer admitted yesterday he is "staggered" to be touted as a potential successor to McClaren. Shearer said he wants to go into management one day, but did not throw his hat into the ring for the national job.

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