English FA considers at least 3 for coach’s job

At least three managers are on the England shortlist and the

Football Association could appoint Fabio Capello’s successor as

soon as next month, without conducting a job interview.

Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp is the leading contender to

lead England into the European Championship in June, but the FA is

now willing to allow its new coach to start after the tournament if

that is a deal-breaker.

The FA seemed to be publicly embarrassed during its search for

new coaches in 2006 and 2007 when both Luiz Felipe Scolari and Jose

Mourinho respectively rejected the job.

But before any official approach is made this time, the FA hopes

to discover privately whether its preferred candidate wants the

job. Inside knowledge from within the football community will be

used to whittle down the shortlist, which includes at least three

names and is not all-British.

”We are treating clubs and managers with the greatest of

respect, we don’t want to disrupt the season of the clubs,” FA

chairman David Bernstein said. ”Most of the people we are looking

at are in positions and whatever we do we ought to try and do it in

a way which enables clubs to finish their season with the minimum

of disruption.

”Our next step is to narrow that target list down to a very

small number of key people who of course we believe actually want

the position. There may be other people who don’t actually want

this position.”

Bernstein leads a board of four FA executives who will chose the

coach and they have spoken to football experts and former players

to gauge opinions.

Those talks have convinced Bernstein that England should be able

to attract his first choice despite Chelsea now needing a new

manager following the firing of Andre Villas-Boas after eight

months on Sunday.

”This position is so unique that the right person would want to

do it on a sensible basis and for the right reasons,” Bernstein

said, overlooking the Wembley Stadium pitch. ”It is a very fluid

situation, I am not sure if (other clubs searching for managers)

helps or hinders. It depends on how the cards fall.”

When Capello was appointed at the end of 2007 to replace Steve

McClaren he emerged from a four-man shortlist.

”We have now arrived at a number of target names, I would call

it a flexible target list because it’s not absolutely fixed in

stone and we will react to events depending how events unfold,”

Bernstein said. ”We would intend to deal with this at the back end

of the season but it could be earlier, if certain things fell into

place and the key appointment came, it could be earlier.”

If not, under-21 coach Stuart Pearce could remain in temporary

charge of the senior team at Euro 2012 after overseeing last week’s

3-2 loss to the Netherlands in a friendly.

Capello quit last month after he felt he was undermined by

Bernstein’s decision to strip John Terry of the captaincy due to

the Chelsea defender’s pending racism trial.