There are 74 days left until England play France at Euro 2012 and, by the sound of it, Stuart Pearce is working on the assumption that it could well be him in the dugout in Donetsk. Certainly no one at the Football Association has told him to rule it out.
Whatever approach that the FA is taking to appointing Fabio Capello's successor, no one at the organisation could deny that it is cutting it very fine indeed. As the weeks tick by, it is Pearce who is travelling around the country to assess the players and keeping the lines of communication open to the clubs.
To give Pearce his due, he is simply doing what has been asked of him by the FA – which is exactly what he promised to do when he discussed the task ahead around the time that England played the Netherlands in a friendly last month. The rest he has to leave to the four men on the Club England board.
On Tuesday, the FA circulated their detailed job spec for the new role of technical director at St George's Park, to begin from the start of next season. But on the question of who will succeed Capello and lead England at Euro 2012 there has been stony silence.
It has long been a personal view that if the FA have to upset a club or two before the end of the season by approaching them for permission to speak to their managers, then so be it. Whether it is Tottenham for Harry Redknapp, West Bromwich Albion for Roy Hodgson or Sunderland for Martin O'Neill, someone, at sometime, is bound to complain.
This is English football, where feuds can develop in the blink of an eye.
If the FA has to put a few noses out of joint then it is only doing its job. Appointing a new manager is often a process of attrition. In this case we are talking about a manager for England at Euro 2012. What could be more important?
That Pearce is continuing for the time being as de facto manager suggests that the FA is not entirely certain whether it will land a suitable candidate in time for the tournament. If so, it would be helpful to start the appointment process as soon as possible.
Appointing a new England manager is no simple task, and the FA will be criticised from some quarters whatever the decision. If it has to ruffle a few feathers along the way then that is simply the price to pay.
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