Bernstein: English manager preferable

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The Independent Football

David Bernstein, the man chosen to be the new Football Association chairman, insists there is "a national desire" for the next England manager to be English.

The job of selecting Fabio Capello's successor - the Italian has stated he will move on after the Euro 2012 finals in 18 months' time - will be top of the list of Bernstein's tasks.

The 67-year-old former Manchester City chairman, currently chairman of Wembley and director of a number of large clothing retailers, was the surprise nomination by the FA board today.

Former Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein had been viewed as the front-runner but the nominations committee headed by Bolton chairman Phil Gartside chose Bernstein, with the main difference being his company boardroom experience.

Bernstein's appointment is expected to be confirmed by the FA council on January 25, after which he will turn his attention to a number of burning issues including Capello's successor.

Bernstein told BBC Sport: "I would prefer to see the best manager possible managing the England team.

"If he was English that would be preferable for obvious reasons and I think there is a national desire for that.

"I want to see a winning England team in due course - my job will be a lot easier if the England team is winning matches so anything that works toward that I am all in favour of."

He added: "I believe that the chairman of the FA needs to be involved in major decisions concerning the England set-up."

Harry Redknapp is the bookies' favourite to succeed Capello, while Stuart Pearce, Martin O'Neill and Sam Allardyce are also contenders.

A chartered accountant, Bernstein was Manchester City chairman for five years, including the time they secured the lease for new stadium at Eastlands, and he has been Wembley chairman since 2008.

He also sits on the boards of several companies including French Connection, Ted Baker and Blacks Leisure, where he has been chairman since 1996. He is also president of the National Association of Disabled Supporters.

Acting FA chairman Roger Burden, who withdrew as a candidate earlier this month following England's failed bid for the 2018 World Cup on the grounds that he "could not trust FIFA", said: "The board was united in its view that David would make an excellent choice as chairman of the organisation.

"I have worked with David for some years and have always been impressed by his professionalism and integrity.

"We look forward to working with David to take the FA forward in the best interests of football at all levels across the country."

Gartside said: "David was the outstanding candidate for the role. He combines strong business and leadership skills with tremendous insight and knowledge of football."

Bernstein's other major tasks will be to drive forward work on the national football centre at Burton - now named St George's Park, and implement a review of international player development carried out by FA general secretary Alex Horne and Sir Trevor Brooking.

Horne added: "I very much look forward to working with David and together focusing on the priorities for the development of English football.

"We have a busy year ahead with work starting on St George's Park, the launch of the Women's Super League, England men's and women's teams competing in major competitions at a variety of age groups and a drive to implement the recommendations of our review into international player development."

The Government have been keeping a close eye on the appointment - the governance of the FA is the subject of an inquiry by a committee of MPs in the New Year.

Bernstein's appointment has received approval from sports minister Hugh Robertson however.

Robertson said: "I welcome the nomination. He has a strong background both in the business and football worlds and I wish him every success in the role.

"The challenge for him will be to build a stronger Football Association and develop our national game at all levels. I look forward to meeting him in the New Year."