Sir Trevor Brooking last night said the Football Association is confident that Fabio Capello will remain England manager even if he receives overtures from Internazionale. The Italian club appears to be on the brink of sacking Rafael Benitez after the Spaniard issued what seemed an old-fashioned "back-me-or-sack-me" ultimatum to club president Massimo Moratti at the weekend. Capello, despite a long association with city rivals Milan, would be high on the list of possible replacements and may be becoming disaffected enough with life as England manager to accept.
However, despite growing media disenchantment with Capello, the FA is broadly behind him, feeling he should be given a chance to show he has learned from the mistakes of the World Cup campaign. Brooking, the FA's director of football development, said: "In a role like Fabio's there is speculation all the time, but from our point of view he is contracted to 2012."
Brooking reiterated that when the time came to replace Capello it would, ideally, be by an Englishman. "It sends out the right message," he said. "We are trying to bring through young coaches – we want them to do our courses. It didn't work for Steve McClaren but we can produce coaches as good as anyone.
"We have had a situation where the bigger clubs have gone overseas which has made it difficult for our managers to get experience in the Champions League." That may be changing with Roy Hodgson at Liverpool having reached a second Uefa Cup final last season, and Harry Redknapp doing well in the Champions League. But, added Brooking: "When the situation does arise we don't know [now] where the leading Engish managers will be, and how much it will take to get them out of their contact situations."
Two posts which need to be filled are that of a new assistant to Capello, to work with the development teams at Under-21, Under-19 and Under-17 level, and the Great Britain Olympics coach. The make-up of the GB team needs to be determined between the four home associations and the British Olympic Association but the coach looks likely to be English. Stuart Pearce, whose contract as Under-21 coach expires this summer, is a favourite, and Brooking said: "If I were Stuart I would want to ask [why not me?]. It would be a strange individual who did not ask."
Brooking will press for the strongest team possible. Having been to Sydney and Athens Olympics with Sport England, he said: "It will be fantastic. The country will be taken over by the Olympics. It is a great opportunity to develop the game and it would be a travesty not to have two [male and female] British teams involved."
The role is likely to be filled by a young English coach. Gareth Southgate, Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher have been mentioned but the field is wide open. Brooking will hope to move forward once the Youth Development Review is considered by the FA Board at a meeting today.
The Board is also due to appoint the next FA chairman. David Dein, the former Arsenal vice-chairman who impressed in the failed 2018 World Cup bid, is the leading contender. However, his long-standing enmity with Sir David Richards, the chairman of the Premier League, may lead to a blindside candidate emerging or the decision being delayed.