It’s the hardest Job in football: The England manager position. As another crumbling failure’s reign is nearly up, the FA face one of the most important decisions in their history. Do they go foreign again? Do they pluck for a Brit? Do they go with experience or youth?
In the four years that Capello has been in charge England have spluttered and stalled and progression has been hard to see. With his woeful grasp of the English language, the Italian has failed to unite the egos and clashing personalities of the camp despite his £6m a year contract.
In short, his time at the helm of English football has been awful. Like so much to do with the national team, what promised so much delivered so little.
But what of the future you say. Well, after last week where I explored the future of the national team players, I felt it was time to explore the managerial possibilities.
The front runners:
Harry Redknapp: 5/6
The outright front runner to replace Fabio in the dugout and let’s face it, Redknapp has every right to be. Having guided Portsmouth to FA Cup success in 2008 and forged Spurs as a formidable force in the EPL, Redknapp’s stock has been on a steep rise. Redknapp has a reputation for bringing individuals together to play as one as well as developing youngsters and taking them on to the next level. Harry has openly said managing England would be the pinnacle of his career and would be hard to turn down. Perhaps his greatest skill however is his dealings in the transfer market. Van der Vaart for £8m to name one. Obviously, this is something that will be left behind if he moved to Wembley. And it is the fear that Redknapp is a club manager through and through that make some people question if he is the right man for the job.
Martin O’Neill: 8/1
A few furlongs behind Redknapp is the straight talking Irishman, Martin O’Neil. Success with Leicester and later Celtic signaled O’Neill out as a possible future England manager. His time at Aston Villa also saw the club progress but there was no silverware to show for it. Considered hot headed and never shy to tell the public about his disagreements with his employers, the FA may be weary of a public spat. Also against O’Neill has his lack of experience at the top level. He has never managed a major team (sorry Celtic fans) and has never really had to manage world class players. However, his record speaks for itself. For example, winning 213 of his 282 games in charge at Celtic Park.
Roy Hodgson: 8/1
The bookies are offering slender odds on Mr Hodgson making the move from the Hawthorns to Wembley. Once favourite to succeed Capello, Hodgson has since slipped back in the race since his debacle at Liverpool. His record, bar his brief stay on Merseyside, is impressive- guiding Fulham to the Europa League final in 2010 just one of the many highlights. What will interest the FA especially is his glittering record as an international manager. He took the Swiss to the last 16 of the 1994 World Cup and took Finland to their highest ever world ranking. What will worry the FA is the nagging question- can he succeed at the highest level of them all? The gap between managing Fulham compared to Liverpool may be miles apart. The gap between managing the likes of Finland compared to England is planets apart.
The chasing pack:
Jose Mourinho: 11/1
The first choice of many if the FA decide to cast their eye abroad. Mourinho has a CV to rival anyone and has said he would consider the England job if ever approached. He has the experience of managing at the top level and most importantly knows how to win the biggest trophies in club football. On the downside, his bulging ego and whooping pay cheque- but if you pay £6m a year on Fabio the FA won’t shy away too quickly. If the FA were to pluck for The Special One, prizing him away from Real could be a fence too many for the FA to jump. Also, Mourinho has never managed an international team. Whether this is a big problem will be up to the man himself. And amazingly, unlike Capello, he can speak English which can’t hurt his chances.
Stuart Pearce: 12/1
Pearce is seen by many English fans as a risky punt. A novice at the managerial game, slowly learning his trade and the England job may be a jump to high, too soon for ‘psycho.’ The passion he has for England weighs hugely in his favour. The Three Lions on his chest means something to him and it is something he can (hopefully) convey to his players. This is something that Capello has failed to do. Pearce’s hopes may rest on how the under 21s perform. Do a good job with them and doors will open.
Arsene Wenger: 14/1
It’s hard to imagine Wenger leaving Arsenal. Maybe a couple more drubbings and the Gunners board may have to show him the door. The fans might not even 8 2 see him go. After years of success followed by long baron periods, the Emirates is restless and Wenger no longer looks so sure of his position. But can anyone honestly see him as the England manager? He is a stubborn man, proven by his transfer dealings, which is not what the English fans, media or Football Association want. But his record and his talent for developing youngsters may hold him in good stead. Still, Wenger for England? It’s a long shot.
David Beckham: 18/1
Could the FA really make the gamble of putting Becks in charge? It would be a huge risk. A man with no managerial experience and a private life bigger than the players. It would be an astonishing call by the FA. But would it be the right one? Beckham has the skills to be an England manager. He commands respect from his fellow players and there is nothing he hasn’t seen or done before- ideal for nurturing the up and coming players. A successor to Capello may be far too soon though.
Alan Shearer: 25/1
Another ex-captain that the bookies reckon could be in with a shout. Unlike Golden Balls, Shearer does have managerial experience and it was far from a success- winning one of eight games as Newcastle were relegated under his leadership. His lack of experience and willingness sees him as an outsider but maybe a co-manager with Beckham. Is that such a crazy idea?
Other names in the frame: Alex Ferguson 25/1, Carlo Ancelotti 25-1, Mark Hughes 33/1, Steve Bruce 33/1, David Moyes 40/1, Jurgen Klinsmann 66/1.
(odds: Paddy Power 25/10/11)