FA must move for Villas-Boas

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The Football Association has indicated they are prepared to wait until late in the season before making an approach for their preferred candidate to fill the role of England manager ahead of Euro 2012, in what has been described as an attempt to not disrupt any domestic manager currently in charge of a club.

But, as far as I can see, the natural successor to Fabio Capello to lead the Three Lions to glory this summer, is a coach that finds himself out of work at present - Andre Villas-Boas.

After the Portuguese tactician was acrimoniously dismissed by Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich a little over a week ago, it would be fair to say that the 34-year-old's reputation as one of the brightest young coaches in Europe has been slightly tarnished following his ill-fated spell at Stamford Bridge.

However, with the benefit of hindsight, Villas-Boas should be afforded some sympathy, and can walk away from west London with his head held high, knowing he gave it his best shot. The consensus is simple - he never had a chance at Chelsea!

Villas-Boas had no support structure around him during his time at the club. There was no strong chief executive, no director of football championing his cause in the face of adversity, and even more crucially, he was not able to make the necessary changes to the Blues squad last summer to ever really stamp his own identity on the team.

Abramovich had invested much in Villas-Boas — not least the £13million to release him from his contract at Porto — and knew it would hurt to lose another manager, but not as much as the failure to qualify for the Champions League.

His appointment had been an instinctive one by the Russian owner, who was remembered fondly as Jose Mourinho's highly-rated scout, now successfully cutting his teeth as a first-team coach. It was Abramovich who had sat Villas-Boas down and explained the 'project' - which incorporated the removal of the Chelsea old guard, and the creation of a young, hungry team playing attractive, attacking football.

Villas-Boas knew he was running out of time. After a number of questionable results amid rumours of a player revolt, which allegedly stemmed from the coach's poor man-management skills, it was a sacking that was waiting to happen. However, his tactical nous, thorough approach and keen eye for detail is something that cannot be argued with, and are skills that make him well-suited to an international position.

Harry Redknapp remains the overwhelming favourite to fill the vacant England manager's job, but the Tottenham boss says he is unsure whether he wants to make the difficult transition from a club manager to the international arena.

The 65-year-old believes the short amount of time an international manager has access to players makes the job difficult - something that could be a blessing for Villas-Boas.

Redknapp has blown hot and cold, admitting it is the ultimate position for any English manager, but also conceding it would be hard to leave White Hart Lane after three and a half years of Spurs success.

"I'm not sure," Redknapp said in a recent interview with L'Equipe. "I have a very good job at Tottenham today and I like it. But I do not know. We will wait and see."

The challenges facing an international manager are totally different to those at club level and could also pose a problem: "When you have a club, you are looking for a striker and you take them," Redknapp added. "When you're coach, you must do with the players you have in your country.

"If you do not have a good scorer, you have none. And you almost never see the players. Two days all two months: it is very difficult."

Villas-Boas, meanwhile, would have nothing to lose, and while some may point to a risk for England, the country could benefit from the incentive for a hurting coach to restore his personal pride on a platform that proves he has what it takes to succeed in a top job.

In the same interview, Redknapp provided some support for the former Blues boss - whom he thinks faced an impossible task when he arrived in west London, due to the influence of player power at Stamford Bridge.

"He received a group of ageing players who are very close to the owner and they therefore have a lot of power. I have had some difficult groups to manage but I have never had this problem,” he concluded.

"There can be solidarity between the players. If you leave two players on the bench they become unhappy and it becomes complicated. Perhaps Villas-Boas tried to change things too quickly, but he will learn from this experience."

His Chelsea tenure will in future be nothing but a small blot on an impressive CV, and having already been linked with jobs at Inter Milan and Roma, it's clear that Villas-Boas' credentials have not been massively undermined.

The FA could do worse than consider appointing him to oversee a period of change in the international fold, that is not too dissimilar to the 'project' he was initially recruited for at Chelsea.

The contingent of Blues players currently in the England squad, are, like at club level, entering the twilight of their international careers, and so should not be seen as a reason to opt against Villas-Boas.

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