Currently, Jose Mourinho is the 4-1 favorite to be the next England manager according to the bookies. In the next 48 hours, expect Jose Mourinho to rule himself out of the running for the job. At this stage in his career, Mourinho could be a club manager at any of the biggest clubs in the world such as Barcelona, Real Madrid, Inter Milan or any other side, so why would he want to associate himself with a second tier of football?
With the rise of club football due to the Premier League and Champions League, international football has become a second tier of football management. Even most of the fans out there, myself included, prefer club football to international football which illustrates the shift in power.
When Mourinho rules himself out of the running, the race will be narrowed to Fabio Capello, Marcello Lippi, Slaven Bilic, Sam Allardyce, Martin O’Neill, Luis Scolari and Guus Hiddink.
Capello, the former Real Madrid manager, has already expressed an interest in the position. After what happened with O’Neill and Scolari in the search for the last England manager, I don’t see the FA considering either of those two candidates seriously especially since the same FA regime is in place.
While Bilic is interested in managing in the Premier League, I don’t see him taking the England manager position especially with the prospect of guiding Croatia through the rounds of Euro 2008 where they stand a good chance of doing well.
Sam Allardyce’s popularity rating has declined sharply from one year ago due to his tough start at Newcastle United. Many of us expected Big Sam’s tenure at Newcastle to be difficult based on the mess that Glenn Roeder and Graeme Souness left for him.
Marcello Lippi, the former Italy and Juventus coach, is available for the position (after turning down the laughable request from Birmingham City this past week).
Lastly, Guus Hiddink – the current Russia manager – is a contender. However despite Hiddink’s success for PSV Eindhoven, South Korea, Australia and many other clubs, I don’t see Hiddink taking the position. Like O’Neill and Scolari, Hiddink was wrapped up in the last opportunity to become England manager and the Dutchman seemed overwhelmed (as Scolari did) by the media circus surrounding the position.
If It was a betting man, it would be a toss-up between Lippi and Capello to be the next England manager. My vote would be for Lippi based on him leading Italy to the 2006 World Cup title, while Capello — despite being a qualified manager — would be a close second if Lippi decides not to take the job.