Harry Redknapp 'flattered' by England link, but says he must focus on Tottenham


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The Independent Football

Harry Redknapp admits he would consider taking the England manager's job but insists he will not be able to combine the role with his current position as Tottenham boss.

The Football Association are meeting today to draw up a shortlist for the vacant position after Fabio Capello resigned on Wednesday.

The FA are keen to appoint an English or British manager, and Redknapp is overwhelming favourite for the position.

The 64-year-old, who has taken Tottenham from relegation candidates to title contenders in little over three years, was keen to emphasise again today that he is only thinking about his current job at Spurs but admitted he would consider replacing Capello if the FA came calling.

Redknapp said: "It wouldn't be easy (leaving Spurs). It would be very difficult.

"I'm happy, but if the opportunity comes, and I get asked, I'll have to consider it."

Should the FA offer Redknapp the position, he appears unwilling to combine it with his current post.

Spurs are seven points off the top of the Barclays Premier League table and have a real chance of lifting their first title since 1961.

For that reason, Redknapp thinks it would be almost impossible for anyone to manage a club team and national side simultaneously.

He said: "It's hard enough managing Tottenham. For anybody to try and do two jobs, I'd say that would be very difficult.

"Your focus has to be on one job. I can't take my eye off the ball at Tottenham at the moment.

"We are looking to get Champions League football and we are still in the FA Cup. I owe it to (the players) to keep completely focused on the job I'm doing here.

"It wouldn't be fair to them if I started letting my thoughts wander elsewhere."

The former Portsmouth boss, who this week was cleared of two charges of tax evasion, has received huge backing from across the country to take the position.

Current internationals Wayne Rooney and Rio Ferdinand have backed Redknapp for the position and a host of Britain's top managers have also tipped him.

The man himself admits he is flattered to see his name linked with the job.

He added: "It's nice of people to put me in a position where they think I have a chance of doing the job.

"It is flattering to see that other managers and that have come out and said nice things. I have managed a lot of those players and it's nice to see them say nice things about you."

Redknapp insisted no one had contacted Spurs chairman Daniel Levy about the possibility of allowing him to leave the club to join the national team.

Redknapp, who looked noticeably drained after his 13-day trial, also moved to assure fans of the north London club that he is totally focused on tomorrow's home game against Newcastle.

"Until Daniel rings me up and says I have had an approach, there is nothing for me to consider," Redknapp said.

"I have only thought about Tottenham. We have a big game tomorrow.

"The club have been great, Daniel brought me here and it couldn't have gone better here for me in the three years. I have loved every minute.

"I have an excellent team, great players and I couldn't be happier in my work and what is happening at the moment."

Capello stood down from the position on Wednesday night after he disagreed with the FA's decision to strip John Terry of the England captaincy over his alleged racist slur against QPR defender Anton Ferdinand - an allegation the Chelsea skipper denies.

West Brom manager Roy Hodgson is Redknapp's main contender from the pool of English managers. Newcastle boss Alan Pardew and West Ham manager Sam Allardyce have ruled themselves out.

The FA have not ruled out appointing a foreign manager, however, and Jose Mourinho has also been linked with the position.

Arsene Wenger and former Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink played down their respective candidacies today.

Arsenal boss Wenger does not believe he is suited to international management, describing it as a "sprinter's job" compared to the "marathon job" of club management.

Hiddink's "strong personal relationship" with ousted captain Terry could rule him out of contention, according to his agent Cees van Nieuwenhuizen.

He told the Daily Telegraph: "I don't, based on previous conversations with England FA board members, imagine that it would work.

"Guus also has a very strong personal relationship with John Terry and would be on his side in all this."

Former England captain Alan Shearer insists the FA should "move heaven and earth" to secure Redknapp.

"I think he is made for it," Shearer told the BBC's Football Focus programme.

"He understands players and players understand him. That is a perfect mix. I'd move heaven and earth to get him."

Stoke manager Tony Pulis thinks the FA were wrong to not consult Capello over the decision to strip Terry of the armband.

"I think the manager should have the final say on football matters - that is what the manager is for, full stop," he said.

He added: "I think Capello has (resigned) as a matter of principle. He has been a top manager - I don't think anyone can question his record through his career.

"He has managed some great football clubs and been successful at them, and it is disappointing, because he most probably would have had the majority of his team in place ready to go.

"Whether they had done well or been indifferent, you would have to wait and see. But for me, the manager should always be in charge of football matters until he is sacked."

Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish thinks Tottenham will "fight tooth and nail" to keep hold of Redknapp, but he believes Redknapp will find it hard to turn down the England job.

Former Scotland boss McLeish said: "Listen, Harry is the clear frontrunner. I'm sure Tottenham will fight tooth and nail to keep him.

"Whether Harry feels he has got unfinished business at Tottenham, I don't know, but he has got them into a magnificent position this season," he said.

"Whether he is going to see that through is another matter. He already expressed doubt about the England job last year.

"But I think sometimes when you get asked the question it becomes a different ball game."