Harry tells FA: back off until end of season


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The Independent Football

Harry Redknapp, the Tottenham manager, has asked the FA to refrain from approaching him about the England manager's job until the end of the season.

Redknapp claims he is yet to hear from the governing body about the job made available by Fabio Capello's resignation last week. And he would prefer it to stay that way, until he has finished what so far has been an impressive season at White Hart Lane.

Redknapp has led Spurs to within seven points of the Premier League leaders and 10 points clear of fourth-placed Arsenal. And he wants to complete the task of leading the side back into the Champions League.

"I can only concentrate on Tottenham," Redknapp said. "I haven't spoken to anybody else about the England job, apart from people from newspapers. I just want to concentrate on the job here. We have had a great season, I wouldn't want the players to start thinking 'what is he doing, is he going, is he staying?' I am here and I have got to be here until the end of the season whatever happens."

To hear Redknapp talk about the England managerial position is amusing, if only because he is so careful not to talk himself into the post before any official approach. No matter that he is the overwhelming favourite and the choice of the majority of England fans outside of Tottenham, he peppers his statements with phrases like "whoever is asked to do it" and "whichever names they come up with".

But he is adamant the FA's choice should be made after the season is over.

"Whoever they go for, the chances are they are going to be in a job," Redknapp added. "It wouldn't be fair, whatever happened or whoever was asked. I owe it to Tottenham to keep concentrating on the end of the season, because there is so much to play for.

"I can't be taking off, I have to keep letting the players know this is where we are at. I couldn't do anything or go anywhere now, I have to say this is where I am. I have to concentrate on Tottenham. If I didn't it wouldn't be right for the club."

Redknapp believes the idea of appointing a stop-gap for the 2012 European Championships is a non-starter. He would far rather a manager is appointed in the summer until at least the World Cup in two years' time.

He said: "If somebody takes it to the end of the Euros and it does not go well, where do you go then? Back to your club with your tail between your legs, I suppose.

"I think it is a job that somebody has got to go in and do full time. But it is a fantastic job for someone and everybody will dream they can win the World Cup. You go there believing you are going to do it.

"You don't go there thinking we might get a couple of draws and then get knocked out. You go there believing – and if you don't believe then it is not worth going."

Redknapp takes his side to Stevenage tomorrow for their FA Cup fifth-round tie and it is this match and the following north London derby, rather than the England job, which he claims has been on his mind during his four-day break in Dubai this week.

"Sunday is a big game," he added. "Then we have Arsenal after that and Manchester United – we have some fantastic games coming up. I have to focus on that, I can't be looking anywhere else at the moment."