Neil Warnock has made the bold claim that England would have already qualified for the World Cup had Harry Redknapp been given the job rather than Roy Hodgson, although he did admit that he was biased in his decision.
Hodgson faces two pivotal matches at Wembley as England look to qualify for next year’s showcase tournament, with the games against Montenegro and Poland all that stands between the Three Lions and a trip to Brazil next year.
But having failed to win a game against anyone other than Moldova and San Marino in their group, England know that any slip-up across the next eight days could destroy their World Cup ambitions.
But now, The Independent’s columnist Warnock believes that had Redknapp been handed the role when he was in consideration alongside Hodgson by the FA, he would have brought an excitement to the national side that he feels is clearly lacking.
Speaking on talkSport’s Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast show, Warnock said: “I do think we’d have qualified for the World Cup by now if Harry Redknapp was in charge, but I’m biased.
“Roy Hodgson is a very good manager and a lovely person, but I just think he fitted as someone safe and secure. He wasn’t a gamble and that’s why I very rarely enjoy watching England.
“Harry gives players more freedom and flair. Roy always sets his teams out not to lose whereas I think Harry sets his teams out to win. There is a massive difference.
“The thing about Harry is he just goes out to win. It wouldn’t have fazed him. I desperately wanted him to take over. I know there were all sorts of things in the cupboard at that time and everybody thought there would be problems.”
Although England cannot secure qualification on Friday even if they beat Montenegro, they can take a giant step towards booking their flight to South America. Victory would eliminate the Brave Falcons, while the result in Kiev between Ukraine and Poland could prove crucial for England’s chances.
A draw or a Polish win would leave England three points clear providing they triumph at Wembley, and there superior goal difference means that at present, Ukraine need a seven goal swing in their favour across the final two matches – Poland would need an even bigger turnaround of 13.