Redknapp 'on long list' to be next England manager

Birmingham City 1 Tottenham Hotspur 1
Click to follow
The Independent Football

Harry Redknapp is in the running to be the next England manager, according to the Football Association. The Tottenham manager, who saw his side throw away a 1-0 lead at Birmingham on Saturday, would be on the long list to replace Fabio Capello, the FA's general secretary Alex Horne said yesterday.

"I would expect Harry to make a long list [for the England job]. It may not be a very long long list," he said. "He is a great manager. Tottenham are playing great football and to qualify well for the Champions League knockout stage from a position of being fourth favourites in the group is huge testimony to that."

If Redknapp could lead Spurs to the title, the England job would surely be his – but unless he can find a solution to the travel sickness that afflicts his players every time they set foot on the team coach, his grand ambition could have to wait another season.

The statistics do not make particularly palatable reading. Only one victory outside the capital and a failure to secure a clean sheet since the opening day against Manchester City.

Admittedly, a top four team has not won at Birmingham's St Andrew's fortress since Chelsea's 1-0 victory in January 2008 but this was undoubtedly a chance missed for Spurs. Birmingham should have been put out of sight by half-time and the visitors only had a solitary goal to show for their superiority in the opening 45 minutes.

Peter Crouch, the forward, was particularly guilty of failing to capitalise and admitted something is lacking. "With the players we've got and quality we have in all areas there is no reason why people shouldn't talk about us for the title, but we aren't as consistent as we should be at the moment," he said.

"We're getting there but the Chelseas and Manchester Uniteds have had that for a long time and that's where we need to be. To be a title contender you have to grind out these results.

"You have to go in and make sure you get that 1-0 and hang in there, that's important if you want to win a title. Birmingham away is a difficult game, a tough place to come. It's not the end of the world but considering our first-half performance, it's very disappointing."

Spurs will now focus their attention on topping Group A of the Champions League, with a victory at FC Twente on Wednesday, thus avoiding the unpalatable scenario of facing Barcelona in the last 16. Redknapp can only hope that a different method of travel yields an improvement.

Birmingham, meanwhile, could have been facing only their second home defeat in 15 months before half an hour had elapsed.

Sebastien Bassong, stepping in admirably for the injured Younes Kaboul, displayed the penalty box prowess that had eluded Crouch to capitalise on a fumble by Ben Foster, the Birmingham goalkeeper, to emphatically put Spurs ahead after 19 minutes.

It was the introduction of Nikola Zigic, the Serbia international, that provided Birmingham with the impetus they sorely needed on the hour. His clever headed cross allowed midfielder Craig Gardner to nod in a deserved equaliser nine minutes from time, completing another memorable week for Alex McLeish.