Hodgson to manage British Olympic football team

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The Independent Online

Roy Hodgson has emerged as a strong contender to be named as the coach of the British Olympic football team later this year, it can be revealed.

Football Association chairman Lord Triesman has confirmed that he wants to appoint the coach before the end of the year.

Although he refused to speculate about names he said it would be "very desirable" to have an Englishman as coach, and it is understood both Fulham boss Hodgson and England under-21 manager Stuart Pearce are in the running.

There is no chance of Sir Alex Ferguson or David Moyes being considered because that would break the FA's deal with the other home nations about only choosing an English-only side, and Fabio Capello - who has stated his desire to coach at the Olympics - would only enter the running if it is decided to consider foreign coaches too.

Triesman told Press Association Sport: "We are now going to start looking at this in earnest and I would be very disappointed if we have not appointed a coach for the Olympic team by the end of the calendar year.

"I think the coach needs that length of time to identify the players who will make up his squad and start working with them to develop a team spirit.

"We cannot appoint a Scot, Welshman or Northern Irishman because that would go against our agreement with the other home nations."

He added: "It would be very desirable to have an English coach.

"Having a foreign coach is not entirely out of the question but it will be fantastic to have an Olympics on home soil so it would be great to have a home-grown coach if we can.

"The most important thing is who would be the best person, and we also have to ensure that any appointment does not interfere with the preparations for the World Cup."

Hodgson, 62, has caught the eye with his transformation of Fulham, but is vastly experienced in world football having coached Inter Milan, Udinese, Blackburn and the Swiss national side.

The Olympic tournament is limited to players aged under 23, and though three over-age players have been allowed in the past FIFA are looking to scrap that.

Pearce had looked a strong contender but the manner of England's 4-0 defeat to Germany in the final of the European under-21 championships in June must have diminished his claims.

However, asked whether Pearce was a contender, Triesman said: "I'm not going to speculate about names but I am great admirer of Stuart Pearce and I think his work with the under-21s has been really great and he got an English team through to final for first time for quite some time."

Asked if the appointment could be used to groom a coach as a successor to Capello, Triesman insisted: "I am not look for successors to Fabio as I believe he will be with us for some time to come."