FA widens net and looks for Redknapp alternatives
The Football Association will make good on chairman David Bernstein's pledge that it will broaden its search beyond the favourite Harry Redknapp when it draws up a list of candidates for the England manager's job over the next few days.
The FA's Club England board – which has been mandated with the task of finding Fabio Capello's successor – will assess viable alternatives to Redknapp, in the event of the Tottenham Hotspur manager turning them down and also to provide a stronger position in negotiations over compensation with the Spurs chairman, Daniel Levy.
Despite the groundswell of feeling that Redknapp is the outstanding candidate for the job, the Club England board will go through the process of identifying other managers whom it could also envisage recommending to the FA board. Bernstein said that he would do so in his original press conference on 9 February, the day after Capello departed. The real process begins now.
Having got Wednesday's friendly against the Netherlands under Stuart Pearce out of the way, the FA chairman now begins the process of recruiting a new manager. He will also attend the meeting of Ifab, the international body that oversees law changes in the game, in Surrey this weekend, a significant one for the FA as it attempts to lead the way on the introduction of goal-line technology.
The candidate that Club England selects must still be put forward for approval by the FA main board, which includes the likes of David Gill, the chief executive; Phil Gartside, the Bolton Wanderers chairman; and Sir Dave Richards, the Premier League chairman. The board will want to see evidence that all possibilities have been discussed.
Sir Trevor Brooking, one of the four Club England officials, this week told The Independent that the new manager could be "parachuted in a few days before" the start of Euro 2012. It is understood there is no possibility of Redknapp leaving Tottenham before the end of the domestic season, which finishes for Spurs on 13 May.
The final 23-man squad for Euro 2012 has to be named on 29 May, three days after the England team are scheduled to play Norway in Oslo in one of two warm-up matches before the tournament. If the FA approached its preferred candidate only at the end of the season, it would afford very little time to negotiate salary and the potentially most crucial element, length of contract.
The FA would not discuss yesterday any details surrounding what kind of contract it will offer to a new manager. Nor would it comment as to whether there will be extra requirements for the new manager relating to a role at St George's Park, the new football centre the governing body is opening in Staffordshire at the start of next season.
Pearce categorically ruled himself out of taking the job on a permanent basis on Wednesday night, but continued to maintain he could manage the team for the European Championship if required. He said: "I don't think I am ready enough, experience-wise. Simple as that. I just feel as though, at this moment in time in my development, I am not ready for the senior international job and all that comes with it."
Asked why he thought he could still handle the tournament this summer, he said: "I feel as though that would not be a problem in the short term, without a doubt. I feel more than comfortable preparing a team to take them on a footballing basis to a major tournament, there's no doubt in my mind about that. But all I have done is bought my employers some thinking time in regard to the next manager coming through the door."
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