Glenn Hoddle’s controversial departure from the England manager’s job in 1999 will not preclude him being considered by the Football Association as an interim successor to Roy Hodgson with Arsene Wenger expected to follow Gareth Southgate in ruling himself out of the running for the position.
The three-man panel charged with appointing the next England manager – FA chief executive Martin Glenn, vice-chairman David Gill and technical director Dan Ashworth – is due to meet formally for the first time today to discuss candidates and draw up a short-list of targets.
Senior players within the England squad are keen for the position to go to a foreign manager if he is the best qualified candidate for the job, but given Wenger’s reluctance to take charge, and with the likes of Jose Mourinho, Pep Guardiola and Carlo Ancelotti all due to start new club jobs this summer, the FA have been left with a dwindling list of available candidates with only Laurent Blanc currently out of work following his departure from Paris Saint-Germain earlier this week.
Hoddle, who was sacked by the FA in January 1999 for discriminatory comments about the disabled, is understood to be a name under consideration to take charge of England on an interim basis until a permanent appointment is made.
But the FA’s hopes of persuading Wenger to leave Arsenal at the end of his current contract, which expires at the end of the coming season, are receding due to the Frenchman’s concerns about the infra-structure at the FA and his belief that the job should go to an Englishman.
While Wenger is prepared to meet Glenn, Gill and Ashworth to discuss their vision for the role, the 66-year-old, who will mark his 20th anniversary as Arsenal manager in September, has reservations over whether a Frenchman would be accepted as England manager.
Wenger’s lukewarm interest in the job and Southgate’s clear reluctance to take the position on an interim basis will create a two-pronged problem for the three-man committee when it meets today.
With their first-choice for permanent and interim positions both distancing themselves from the role, the FA must draw up a realistic target of candidates likely to engage in discussions.
The FA’s preference is to make a permanent appointment, without the need for an interim manager to take the reins for England’s World Cup qualifiers in the autumn.
But should they be unable to identify the right man before the opening qualifier against Slovakia in September, the three-man panel will make a temporary appointment.
Hoddle’s candidacy has been backed by former England captains Paul Ince, Alan Shearer and Rio Ferdinand, all of whom played under the 58-year-old, who has not managed since leaving Wolves in 2006, during his two-and-a-half years in the late-1990s.
And while his remarks about the disabled, made according to his religious beliefs, would undoubtedly be an issue that Hoddle would have to address, his standing within the game remains high and the FA are aware of his credentials as a coach.
Despite claims to the contrary on Thursday, Sir Dave Brailsford, the former performance director of British cycling, will not play an active role in identifying the new England manager.
Brailsford currently sits on an advisory panel at the National Football Centre at St George’s Park, which meets approximately every two months, discussing coaching methods and elite development.
However, the panel, which is chaired by former Ipswich Town chairman David Sheepshanks and also includes former England rugby coach Stuart Lancaster, will have no involvement in the search for an England manager.
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