Fabio Capello has said that he will not be persuaded to stay in the England manager's job beyond the end of Euro 2012, should his team qualify for the tournament.
The Italian even joked that he will be a "pensioner" in two years' time when, at the age of 66, his contract with the Football Association will expire. He is signed up to take England through the tournament in Poland and Ukraine should they make it there but beyond then the FA have promised that his successor will be English.
Given that it was not long ago that Capello was derided in some quarters as insufficiently competent to do the job it was with some surprise that he reacted to questions after the Euro 2012 qualifier victory over Switzerland on Tuesday enquiring whether he would be prepared to stay on.
Capello signed the deal to Euro 2012 when he took over in January 2008 and agreed to the deletion of the break clause this summer before the World Cup finals. The FA has always maintained that the levels of compensation paid to their £6m-a-year coach are not that different for the removal of the clause.
Asked on Tuesday about the contract, Capello said that he intended "absolutely" to leave after Euro 2012. He said: "We have to qualify first. I will be too old [after that]. I want to live my life like a pensioner."
The suggestion was that England will be Capello's last job in football. The FA have soldiered on with the Italian despite that two-week review period of his position in the summer that lasted four days and the strained relations that fostered with the Italian camp. Two wins out of two in qualifying mean that Club England officials have no need to review Capello's position again before the next qualifier against Montenegro on 12 October.
Capello has also intimated that he may be about to change his captain for the third time and install Steven Gerrard permanently in the role. The Liverpool skipper has been captain for the last seven games since Rio Ferdinand's pre-World Cup injury. The Manchester United man, who took over after John Terry was sacked, has only been able to captain the side for two games.
Asked whether Gerrard could get the job on a permanent basis Capello said: "Another question. For me the performance of the player is important, not the armband." Previously, the England manager dismissed out of hand the prospect that Gerrard could take over. Pressed on the issue, he said: "It is not a priority. The players, the performance, the next game [is the priority]. Now we have to play Montenegro. The armband is not important."
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