BOBBY ROBSON, the former England manager, said last night that providing he could free himself he would be prepared to take temporary charge of the national team should there be a parting of the ways between Glenn Hoddle and the Football Association.
Robson, who stands down as coach of Dutch side PSV Eindhoven at the end of the season when Eric Gerets takes over, is almost alone in regarding the England job as still the most prestigious in the land.
It is amazing that even at 62 years old and after the persecution he suffered at the hands of the media he could still even consider doing it again, even though his eight-year reign from 1982-1990 eventually ended on a triumphant note when he steered England to the semi-finals at Italia 90.
"If I was free and the country was in a spot then, yes, for the short term," he told The Independent yesterday from the Netherlands.
"I'm sure if you asked Terry Venables he would also say `yes'. But there must be lots of other candidates. Not so long ago all of our better young managers wouldn't touch the job with a bargepole.
"I regarded it as the greatest job in football. What I had at Ipswich, in [terms of] the quality of life [was good], but I gave it all up because that's the way it was in those days. If I'd never taken it I'd have sat back in my rocking chair later on in life and said, `what a fool I was to turn it down'. I've no regrets. It was a fantastic phase of my life, a great education."
Robson remains the most successful Englishman ever to manage abroad but believes that a younger man should have the job and was interested to know where Kevin Keegan stood among the list of contenders. When told he himself was 50-1 in the betting to take over should Hoddle's tenure come to and end, he replied: "Fifty-to-one! I'm disappointed."
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