Curbishley the real deal for England, says Roeder

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The Independent Football

Glenn Roeder is convinced the Football Association will at least interview the Charlton manager Alan Curbishley as they look to appoint a new England coach.

Curbishley, who takes his side to Newcastle United for a re-arranged Premiership fixture tonight, was yesterday quoted at 4-1 by Ladbrokes to get the nod from Soho Square as Sven Goran Eriksson's successor - with Martin O'Neill still leading the way at 5-4, the same odds as he is to take over the vacant manager's post at St James' Park.

Roeder, who has won three games out of three since replacing Graeme Souness on a caretaker basis, will hope to extend that run at the expense of the Charlton manager, whom he rates highly.

"How long has he been there - 12, 13, 14 years?" Roeder asked. "When do you lose the 'up-and-coming' tag? It's ridiculous, and I know he gets upset about it. He is told by the media when they put the cameras in front of him, 'You are an up-and-coming potential England manager'. He's not; he's a fully fledged English manager, who has achieved wonderful things at Charlton.

"It's a question of whether the FA, the international committee, sit down - the ones who are going to select the candidates - and if they see it the way I do I would find it amazing if they didn't give him an interview.

"He's done it; he's been there a long, long time. Who's the longest-serving manager? Sir Alex Ferguson ... then Alan. It's fair to say he passed the apprentice stage years and years ago and he's a fully fledged top-flight manager who could take on the England job if he was asked to."

Newcastle head into tonight's match seemingly no closer to appointing their own new manager. There is a feeling on Tyneside that - despite links with O'Neill, Sam Allardyce, Claudio Ranieri and Ottmar Hitzfeld among others - the club's chairman Freddy Shepherd could delay an appointment for several weeks yet.

Both the caretaker and the man asked to assist him - captain Alan Shearer - have repeatedly ruled themselves out of doing the job on a permanent basis. But as long as their partnership continues to pay dividends, Shepherd will have time to ensure he makes the right appointment.

Shearer and the match-winner against Southampton in Saturday's FA Cup fifth-round tie, Kieron Dyer, are both doubts for tonight. Michael Owen is slightly ahead of schedule on his road to recovery from a broken foot, although he too will not be rushed back.

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