The F.A revealed yesterday that they had compiled a shortlist of ‘more than three but less than ten’ candidates to become the next England boss, including one overseas manager.
While Harry Redknapp is the clear favourite for the role, his position has been weakened somewhat by Tottenham’s recent blip, allowing the likes of Roy Hodgson to make up some ground in the bookies eyes at least.
The F.A’s admission that one of either Jose Mourinho or Pep Guardiola are on the list means they are not ruling out a non-English manager once more, while Stuart Pearce is also in the running having been installed as interim boss after Capello’s exit.
So who ticks every box for the F.A and is the right man to take over where Fabio Capello left off?
Of all the names mentioned in association with the England job, one potential candidate stands head and shoulders above the rest when it comes to winning trophies; Pep Guardiola.
Although Jose Mourinho’s record is not to be sniffed at Guardiola has masterminded Barcelona’s ascent to becoming the best side in the world, and has won 13 out of a possible 16 trophies since joining the club.
Whether he can replicate it elsewhere in another job is difficult to judge given Barcelona's particular style and the fact they can call upon some of the best players in the world, while Mourinho has proved he can go to different clubs with different styles and achieve results almost without fail.
The overriding favourite for the job, Harry Redknapp, by contrast, can only count upon his F.A Cup success with Portsmouth as his only major trophy during his lengthy managerial career, while the other leading candidate Roy Hodgson has only handful of trophies with Malmo and two appearances in the UEFA Cup (now Europa League) final.
Most people tend to forget Hodgson’s previous experience at international level, but it is certainly something that will stand him in good stead when it comes to selecting the England manager.
His time with Switzerland was one of the highlights of his career as he guided the European minnows to the 1994 World Cup and the 1996 European Championships, taking them to their highest place in the FIFA world rankings – third.
Redknapp has no international experience but has been in management for over 25 years and has formed his current group of players including plenty of international players into a cohesive unit while Mourinho has previously stated there is no chance he would manage England or any other national team, instead wanting to coach Portugal in the future.
Guardiola enjoyed the most illustrious playing career out of the possible candidates, winning 47 caps for Spain in his nine year international career so knows exactly what is required at the top level.
Two accusations are often leveled at England; firstly that they are tactically inept and secondly that they have no belief or confidence in their ability after years of tournament anguish.
It would seem that Redknapp is the man to solve the latter and Mourinho is best suited to address the former.
Redknapp has garnered praise for turning round Tottenham from a club at the foot of the table to Champions League contenders; Spurs' traditional frail mentality has seemingly been dealt with and they now appear confident of taking on all comers.
Mourinho (and Guardiola for that matter) are renowned for their attention to the most minute details and are master tacticians if the success both have achieved in the Champions League is anything to go by.
Mourinho is a man who wants to be adored by his players and is the heartbeat of every club he manages, so how he will adopt to the different challenges presented by international football remains to be seen.
Hodgson was battered from pillar to post during his brief disastrous stint at Liverpool for many reasons but there is no doubt the Kop weren’t fans of his playing style.
It is harsh to judge him on one of the low points of his career given the lack of backing he was given while on Merseyside, and his current club, West Brom have just started to show their attacking prowess in recent games but his time with Inter Milan was also doomed.
Who wants it?
Despite Guardiola proving to be an excellent candidate based on his credentials and experience there are few who actually believe the Barca boss will pass up mentoring one of the greatest teams of all time to take over a faltering England side.
Mourinho is a proven anglophile and has proven success working with England players but he has already pointed out that he feels the England job should go to an England manager and that he would only ever manage Portugal.
That leaves Hodgson and Redknapp. Had the vacancy come up when Hodgson was just leaving Fulham with his star on the rise it may have been a closer run race, but he is rebuilding after his disastrous spell at Liverpool and the vacancy may come too soon for him.
Redknapp is at the peak of his powers and while he has few trophies to show for his efforts and no international experience he is held in high regard by most fellow managers and is the public’s man for the job.
It seems the Spurs manager will be saying his goodbyes and packing his bags for a trip to Poland and Ukraine this summer.
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