Harry Redknapp said yesterday that he would speak to the Football Association about the England manager's job if he was approached by the governing body but asked for a few days' grace to return to normality after a dramatic week.
Speaking extensively for the first time after being acquitted of tax evasion on Wednesday, the same day that Fabio Capello resigned at the FA, Redknapp said that he would have to consider an offer from the FA. He is not prepared to take the job part-time and would want a three- or four-year contract from the governing body.
Redknapp said: "No, it wouldn't be easy [leaving Tottenham Hotspur]. It would be very difficult. I'm happy at work. But if the opportunity comes, and I get asked, I'll have to consider it. I'll have to make a decision, but I have to do what's right for me and my family."
The Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy, Redknapp said, had told him that he had not yet received an approach from the FA.
"I need a few days, really," Redknapp said. "I think when you have been through that [court case] it takes a couple of days to get over it. For sure, it has knocked me for six for a few days."
The FA's Club England committee met yesterday to discuss the outline of their plan to recruit Capello's successor and the qualities of the man they want. However, with Redknapp the outstanding candidate, it is anticipated that the FA chairman, David Bernstein, will make contact with Levy next week to ask for permission to speak to his manager.
Redknapp said: "I think we have all just got to wait and see what happens and what anybody says. At the moment there has been no approach or anything. Without talking to the chairman I wouldn't want to say how I would want to go with it. I think I have got to keep my powder dry at the moment."
The key problem for the FA would be the compensation payable to Spurs which could theoretically approach £10m – a £5m release clause plus the last 15 months of Redknapp's salary, worth £3.1m a year. It would be difficult to imagine Levy insisting that the FA pay the full package but he would expect some compensation. Capello was out of work when he was appointed.
Redknapp said that he could not imagine a scenario in which he took over the England team for the European Championship this summer and then return to Spurs. "Difficult one," he said. "If you did it on that basis and it don't go well ... you are only walking in and it has been another person's team." As it stands, he is planning to be on holiday in June. "Poland?" he joked. "No, it's Sardinia we like."
On the possibility of managing Spurs and England, Redknapp was dismissive. "It's probably difficult. Very difficult. I mean, it's hard enough managing a league club... managing your country too. Your focus has to be on one job. You can't be going home thinking who is playing well in this situation. I can't take my eye off the ball at Tottenham at the moment."
Redknapp's Spurs team, in third place and seven points off the leaders Manchester City, play Newcastle at home this evening and asked directly whether he still expects to be in charge at the end of the season he said nothing had changed so far. "As far as I know. I hope so. I'd be very surprised if I didn't, that's for sure. I haven't thought about not being here at the end of the season.
"At the moment, I've got no idea why I shouldn't [be at Spurs until the end of the season]. Unless something happens. Unless Daniel rings me up and says something's happened. I don't know.
"It is difficult because I am happy here, I enjoy my job here. I enjoy the team, I enjoy the players. I enjoy watching them play and the way we play. And it [the England job] is aggro, let's not kid ourselves, it is aggravation, to be honest. You know what is coming. There has been a lot of great managers and when someone like Capello finds it hard-going, it has got to be hard-going."
As Capello had said many times, Redknapp did ask whether Wembley, the FA's £757m stadium, proved a barrier to getting the best from England players. "You wonder sometimes whether you'd rather see the games played at Old Trafford or Anfield where there's an atmosphere when we play at home. Where it's intimidating. I've often thought that.
"Wembley, it seems, is a showpiece stadium with an open pitch not quite the same. If you were to go and play these games in a stadium where you can play an English style... We play at Wembley and it becomes a different style of football to what we play on a Saturday."
Redknapp said there was no "magic wand" for an England manager and that many had struggled in the job, including his late friend Ron Greenwood.
"Certainly it's been a very difficult job for everybody. Even people like Bobby Robson. I know he got to the [World Cup] semi-finals in 1990 but Bobby got some stick before that. And what happened to people like Graham Taylor. It is not an easy job, is it?"
What The Bosses Say: Sorry for Fabio, but behind Harry
"The manager should have the final say on football matters – that is what the manager is for, full stop. The situation with Harry is unique in lots of respects. I think he has got the media on his side, people in football on his side and supporters on his side. So he has to get the job!"
"I was as surprised as anyone else. [Capello] had earned the right to take the team to the European Championships. He should have been left alone to make the decisions. What's the point of having the manager?"
Sir Alex Ferguson
"The FA have approached David Gill to speak to me. Seriously. I said I'd make a decision on 1 April. It's a good idea actually – I could relegate them! There's no doubt Harry's the best man, and you Press have decided anyway. The FA are not going to go against our Press are they? Harry's the right man. He's got the experience and that's important. He's got the personality, the knowledge of the game, and he changes the fortunes of every club he's been at. It's the right choice.
"I have never really been tempted by the national-team job because for me it is a completely different job. I was always under contract, I respected contracts in my life. I am a little bit in a marathon job inside the club and the national team job is a sprinter's job."
"I don't know the reasons but I can say the national team has lost a top manager. I think under Fabio Capello England had a big chance to win the European Championships. I respect his decision and I am very sorry for him."
"I don't think it's right to say whether you're interested. The FA need to decide who they think are the right people. Harry's receiving all the backing from virtually all quarters, but it's up to them to decide what they want to do."
"Harry is the clear frontrunner. I'm sure Tottenham will fight to keep him. Whether Harry feels he has unfinished business at Tottenham, I don't know, but he has got them into a magnificent position. Whether he is going to see that through is another matter."
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