Who will the FA look at to replace Fabio Capello?
In a matter of a week, England’s preparations for the upcoming European Championships in Poland and Ukraine were monumentally altered by the loss of their captain and manager. John Terry’s ongoing fight for justice in a race war against Anton Ferdinand ensured he was stripped of his captaincy for the second time with the FA acting without Capello’s permission.
Then, in a dramatic turn of events, Capello went on European television, blasted the FA for making such a decision without his warrant. In an encounter with FA officials, Fabio then resigned as head coach of the national side last week. Can England ever get a major tournament year right? In 2006 we had our biggest hope, Wayne Rooney, sidelined with a broken foot and without match fitness. John Terry was stripped of his captaincy first time round for the previous World Cup in 2010 whilst these two incidents have heaped onto our troubles following Wayne Rooney’s two-match ban following his sending off against Montenegro in October.
The FA have discussed in a meeting recently that their preference for the new manager would be English. However, they have stated that it is not essential but it would buck the trend of recent foreign managers at England. It seems that there is only one candidate on the lips around the nation in Harry Redknapp. The Tottenham Hotspur manager is the clear favourite but he is exactly that – the Tottenham manager. He has stated his desire to continue the growth at White Hart Lane and with many managers waiting in the wings such as David Moyes and even Jose Mourinho to take over the reins at The Lane.
Mourinho has been placed at 2/1 to become the new Spurs manager as he continues to plot his return back to England. Some say that he is waiting to take up the mantle of Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United and will only wait for the right job. With all of the hype surrounding Redknapp, he has only one major trophy to his name in the FA Cup with Portsmouth and just the one season in the Champions League. Nobody talks about his relegation in 2004 with Southampton though. With the FA wanting to fill Capello’s boots rather quickly, Redknapp will be reluctant to leave Spurs, midway through a title push, if at all.
Stuart Pearce is the current under-21’s and Olympic team manager, this growing list of teams was added to as the former Manchester City boss was named the caretaker gaffer for when Holland play England in a friendly later this month. FA want swift action but we have already seen in recent years with Steve McClaren that employing backroom staff to take the mantle of manager.
Although ideally, you would like someone to coach the team who knows England like the back of his hand but McClaren proved in 2007 that it wasn’t necessarily a good plan. Jose Mourinho could be an outsider for the job. He has expressed his desire to return to England but he has finally hit a high note at Real Madrid despite issues with the board. He holds a huge 10-point lead over their rivals Barcelona and could be in for a trophy in Europe.
Why would Mourinho wish to lead a dynasty like that? He, as aforementioned, could be waiting for Ferguson to retire so he could take the mantle of Manchester United manager but speculation has brought him to England before. He seems like the ideal manager but there is a lot of doubt hovering over him to become the new England manager. There’s no doubting the Portuguese manager’s credentials though. He has collected trophies everywhere he has been, three Champions League winners medals speak for themselves really. He is adored all over England and sounds like the perfect replacement for Capello. It’s just very unlikely.
A man England could turn to, albeit foreign, is Guus Hiddink. Hiddink has international experience managing a collection of international teams such as Holland, Australia, South Korea, Turkey and Russia. He has achieved two semi-finals and a fourth place in the 2002 World Cup with South Korea. If anybody can motivate England on the big stage it is this man. He even spent a brief period at Stamford Bridge, excelling himself by winning the FA Cup in his six-month tenure before returning to Russia.
There are numerous other alternatives that could replace Fabio Capello at the England manager’s helm. There are sentimental choices available to England with the likes of David Beckham and Alan Shearer possible candidates. Shearer hasn’t covered himself in glory with relegation for Newcastle and Beckham has retired yet so neither would be on the FA chief’s front runners lists. Other British alternatives include the likes of Sam Allardyce who has always been in the running and been including in many a pub discussion on who to become England manager. However, the West Ham boss would much prefer to concentrate on promotion to the Premier League and with his poor showing at Newcastle, he could’ve dropped down a peg or two in the pecking order.
Martin O’Neill would’ve been one of the favourites to replace Capello had he not taken the job at Sunderland. Steve Bruce is also a candidate along with David Moyes but the pair just lack that experience to bring England success for the FA to notice them. Roy Hodgson is another name darted about in forums and discussion. Hodgson isn’t having the best of times at West Brom despite the recent Black Country derby pasting of Wolves. He could jump ship.
Foreign replacements include the likes of Arsene Wenger and Rafael Benitez who have vast experience, especially in England, having held down jobs at the top clubs in Arsenal and Liverpool respectively. Wenger is having a torrid season at Arsenal whilst Rafa remains out of a job following his Inter sacking. Whilst those two are still in contention, Big Phil Scolari will always been in the news for consideration. He told the press in 2007 that he doesn’t want to manage England though and his poor spell at Chelsea will hinder his selection.
What about good old Sven Goran Eriksson? If you look at his record, he is in the top five amongst England managers and guided England to three successive quarter finals in major tournaments. Since his resignation in 2006, we haven’t reached anything like that so do we have to revert back to the Swede?
The conundrum will rattle on for some time it seems but the FA needs to resolve this question extremely quickly. Appoint a manager and captain at least before the beginning of April for us to at least start thinking about winning a match in the European Championships.