The Football Association would first turn to Martin O'Neill if Fabio Capello decides for any reason to quit as England head coach.
It is understood that the Aston Villa manager is currently the FA top brass' favoured man - on the basis that neither Sir Alex Ferguson nor Arsene Wenger would want the job.
O'Neill has impressed FA chairman Lord Triesman and incoming chief executive Ian Watmore with his success at Villa - particularly in nurturing a power-base of English talent with players such as Ashley Young and Gabriel Agbonlahor.
Although there is no indication that Capello is considering leaving the job, O'Neill can be assured that he has strong supporters at the top level of the FA.
This is in stark contrast to his position in 2006 when he lost out to Steve McClaren in the contest to succeed Sven-Goran Eriksson.
England under-21 manager Stuart Pearce has been working closely with Capello and had been viewed as a possible heir-apparent to the Italian, who has a contract until 2012.
Pearce would do his own claims no harm at all if England were to win the European Under-21 championships this summer.
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