Redknapp must heed Ferguson's warning over England job

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Harry Redknapp appeared a man set free from the shackles of a five year ordeal as Tottenham run riot against Newcastle last weekend.


Usually stooped in Tottenham’s plush dugout, Redknapp whooped and hollered with each and everyone of Tottenham’s five goals, pumping his fist as the crowd sang his name in the hope of convincing him to ignore England’s impending overtures.


Ever since Fabio Capello’s incongruous time in charge of England came to an end earlier this month, it has been a matter of if rather than when Redknapp was named his successor.


However the fly in the Three Lions ointment continues to be Redknapp’s day job, a role in which he has proved himself to be fairly handy at.


The 5-0 thumping of Newcastle, a side with ever-growing Champions League credentials, kept Spurs clinging on in the title race with defining fixtures against Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea in the coming weeks, whie an F.A Cup quarter final place beckons them with only Stevenage standing in their way this weekend.


It was perhaps to the benefit of all parties involved then, that Redknapp’s suggestion on Thursday that he would be willing to manage England on a part-time basis, with an eye on taking over for the Euro's in June.


“Part-time? In the short term I think it’s possible. In the long term you can’t manage a club and a national team,” he told reporters.


“It’s difficult enough managing in the Premier League without having to worry about the England team as well. As national boss you want to be watching players and the opposition," he added.


The former Portsmouth manager maintains he has yet to be approached by the F.A over the possibility of becoming the next England manager, although it is surely only a matter of time.


While Spurs fans will unlikely welcome the prospect of their manager keeping one eye on the England job while their team have 13 Premier League games left to achieve something quite remarkable, is it out of the question for Redknapp to juggle both roles until the end of the season?


F.A Chairman David Bernstein has already seemingly ruled out the prospect of an interim manager to take over for the European Championships in June, but Redknapp has already expressed his reluctant to leave White Hart Lane with his three years in charge seemingly about to reach its zenith.


A glance to the team, and more pertinently, the manager of the team just above Spurs in the league offers a perfect example of the perils faced by a manager trying to juggle both club and country.


Sir Alex Ferguson was on the receiving end of a call from the Scottish F.A after national manager Jock Stein suddenly passed away prior to the 1986 World Cup.


The then Aberdeen boss took up the role and led Scotland in to the tournament in Mexico, but what happened next was a rare blot on the copybook of a man generally regarded as the finest British manager ever.


Aberdeen, then reigning league champions, could only muster a fourth place finish that year under Ferguson having occupied top spot going into the winter period, although they did claim the Scottish cup.


Scotland, who while on the slide from their mid-seventies ‘golden generation’ could still call upon a host of quality players, scored just one goal as they finished bottom of Group E to come home with their tail between their legs.


"I tried doing both jobs with Scotland and I found it very difficult." Ferguson said of one of the darkest periods of his career.


Pointedly, Ferguson maintains that the role seriously hampered his time spent with Aberdeen as they chased trophies that season, something that would have struck a chord with Redknapp, who stands a chance of adding silverware to Tottenham’s trophy cabinet this season.


"We won the double because we won the two cups but I think we would have won the treble if I hadn't taken the Scotland job," Ferguson said.


Other managers have tried to do both jobs and had varying degrees of success. Guus Hiddink offered Chelsea a helping hand when Luiz Felipe Scolari was sacked in 2009 at Stamford Bridge, and while the Dutchman delivered success in the F.A Cup his time with Russia was clearly affected as they missed out on qualification for the 2010 World Cup having set alight the European Championships two years previously.


If that wasn't enough of a warning sign enough for Redknapp, then there is his well documented health problems that could be a problem in juggling both roles, even on a short-term basis.


The 64-year-old underwent minor heart operation earlier this season to unblock coronary arteries, while the man himself admitted that his recent court case had taken its toll on him and his wife, who had been taken ill because of the ‘stress of it all’.

Tottenham's final game of the season on the May 13 against Fulham comes just under two weeks before England's penultimate warm up fixture against Norway, while another game at Wembley against Belgium follows just a week later. As both Redknapp has already admitted, it is a near impossible task, no to mention unfair on the players, to run the rule over England squad hopeful's and decide whether they merit a place on the plane to Poland and Ukraine while occupied with a title challenge at Spurs.


The Tottenham board would of course be reluctant to see Redknapp take on two roles at such a crucial time in the season, but Redknapp’s stance that he would be willing to take England on part-time is an indication of his desire to coach England while not leaving Tottenham in the lurch however.


As one of Ferguson’s great friends in the game, however, Redknapp may be advised to seek the advice of the Scot and find out that sometimes, it's best not to try and please everybody.


Tottenham Hotspur
Premier League

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