Leading article: Kick in the teeth

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The Independent Online

The next England football manager will be English – so says the Football Association in the person of Club England managing director, Adrian Bevington. Leaving aside the fact that, in looking so brazenly to a time beyond Fabio Capello, the FA gave the England manager a small taste of the tactlessness he served up to David Beckham, we wonder whether the FA is too categorical.

All right, so our foreign managers have been little more successful than the home-grown ones in taking England to the later stages of the World Cup. But is that the only gauge of success in an England manager? What about their general enhancement of national life?

In that department, our two recent foreign managers are in a league all their own. The very mention of Sven produces grins of knowing recognition well beyond sporting circles, even before you get to Göran Eriksson. How would the popular press have filled its pages without him? As for Fabio, he not only brought a whole new dimension to the language, but almost outdid the natives in stiff-upper-lippery. Dip into the Premier League, and you find Arsène Wenger, the Englishman's Frenchman, and once, long ago, José Mourinho, a one-man lesson in self-esteem and how to dress. Adornments to the nation one and all. How could any English manager compete?

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