Soccer

Redknapp favourite for top job

2012-02-09 13:02
Harry Redknapp (AFP)

London - The hunt for the next England manager gets under way on Thursday with Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp the overwhelming favourite to succeed Fabio Capello after the Italian's dramatic resignation.

The English Football Association has scheduled a press conference for 14:00 following Capello's shock departure late Wednesday triggered by the decision to strip John Terry of the England captaincy last week.

Capello's exit capped a day that was extraordinary even by English football's circus-like standards, coming just hours after Redknapp was cleared of all charges following a trial for tax evasion.

Attention now turns to the question of who will succeed Capello, just four months out from the start of England's campaign at the 2012 European Championships in Poland and Ukraine.

In the short-term, Capello's assistant Stuart Pearce is tipped to take charge of England for the upcoming friendly against the Netherlands on February 29.

But for Euro 2012 and beyond, Redknapp is regarded as the only viable candidate, meeting the FA's desire for the next manager to be English while possessing a proven track record.

Former England manager Graham Taylor said Redknapp is "made for the job" of leading the national team and said the 64-year-old was at the right stage of his career to take on the challenge.

"I just think that taking the England job is far better when you're coming towards the end of your career than when you're a young man. I think Harry is in many respects made for the job," Taylor told the BBC.

Taylor said few candidates could rival Redknapp if he chose to apply for the job. "The public want him, the players want him, sections of the media want him, so that's how it looks at the moment," Taylor said.

Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill, who has been interviewed for the England job in the past, echoed Taylor's endorsement.

"He should be the one," O'Neill said of Redknapp. "I think he should be and I think he deserves that opportunity as well.

"There has been a cry-out for an English manager now. His achievements at Tottenham in the last couple of years have been outstanding.

Capello's departure was largely greeted with jubilation by the British media on Thursday, with many joining the clamour for Redknapp to be installed swiftly.

"Now give it to cleared Redknapp," said The Sun, referring to the Tottenham boss as "the people's choice and the players' choice to rescue England."

"Good riddance," agreed the Daily Mirror, which reported that Capello would leave with a 1.5 million ($2.4 million, 1.8 million euro) payoff despite abandoning the side before Euro 2012.

Capello's reign was "characterised by a general sense of confusion, apathy, miscommunication and mediocrity", Oliver Holt wrote in the Mirror.

The Guardian too expressed little regret over the departure of the former AC Milan and Real Madrid coach, who took charge of England in December 2007.

"Fabio Capello never bothered to learn much English, or much about England," wrote Richard Williams.

Meanwhile British Prime Minister David Cameron also entered the inquest into Capello's departure but would not speculate on a likely successor.

"I am sorry to see Fabio go. I think he was a good coach and a good man," Cameron said. "England now needs a new coach and a new captain and I hope we can get on with that and make the best of the opportunity this summer."

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