Redknapp ready for ‘aggravation’ of England job
Enduring a five-year police investigation and two-week trial
before cleared of tax fraud has prepared Harry Redknapp for the
”aggravation” he knows would face as England coach.
With the European Championship only four months away, the
Tottenham manager is the leading contender to replace Fabio Capello
as head of the national team.
With no certainty that Redknapp can be lured from Tottenham,
English Football Association executives met Friday to form a
shortlist that would likely include other candidates.
”If the opportunity comes, and I get asked, I’ll have to
consider it,” Redknapp said Friday. ”I’d be very surprised if I
didn’t finish the season with Tottenham, that’s for sure.”
The 64-year-old Redknapp has the skills FA chairman David
Bernstein requires of his next coach: strong motivational
qualities, experience handling top players and an ability to
produce exciting soccer.
Redknapp has led Tottenham to third place in the Premier League.
He knows leading the Three Lions would not be easy and is trying to
downplay expectations about his abilities in charge of a national
team without a major trophy since it hosted the 1966 World Cup.
”Let’s not kid ourselves. It’s aggravation,” he said. ”There
have been a lot of great managers since Alf Ramsey, unbelievable
managers. When someone like Capello finds it hard going, it has to
Even Bobby Robson found that as he took England to the World Cup
semifinals in 1990.
”He went through some terrible periods. He got slaughtered at
times,” Redknapp said. ”We haven’t really had too much success,
so it shows you what a difficult job it must be. No one has a magic
A groundswell of public support for Redknapp gathered after
Capello quit on Wednesday following a disagreement with the FA over
John Terry being stripped of the captaincy.
”It’s nice if people put me in a position where they think I’ve
got a chance of getting the job,” Redknapp said. ”It is
flattering. Other managers have come out and said nice things and I
appreciate everybody’s support really.”
Redknapp, an FA Cup winner as Portsmouth’s manager in 2008, is
the ”right choice,” according to United manager Alex
”He has the experience and personality and the knowledge of the
game,” said Ferguson, who managed Scotland at the 1986 World Cup.
”He has changed the fortunes of every club he has been at.”
It has been a whirlwind week for Redknapp. Facing a potential
jail sentence on Wednesday morning, by the evening he had been
cleared of tax evasion and installed as the favorite to replace
”It was a horrendous period,” Redknapp said. ”The most
draining thing I have been through in my life.”
Had the jury not believed his defense, Redknapp could have been
in prison on Friday rather than speaking to the media ahead of
Tottenham’s match against Newcastle on Saturday.
”I remember getting called in,” he recalled of being told a
verdict had been reached. ”You don’t know what to think. You have
12 people that are going to decide (whether) to finish your life,
basically. It is not a feeling that you would wish on
While son Jamie, a former England national team player, was at
Southwark Crown Court throughout the trial, wife Sandra stayed
”I wouldn’t let her come to court. She couldn’t have handled
it,” Redknapp said. ”It would have killed her, without a
Redknapp was recruited by Tottenham from Portsmouth in 2008
despite the police probe. Seeking their first league title since
1961, Spurs are seven points behind first-place Manchester
Redknapp’s contract runs through the 2012-13 season.
”I can’t take my eye off the ball at Tottenham at the moment
because we’re looking to get Champions League football, we’re still
in the FA Cup and I owe it to them to continue to keep completely
focused on the job I’m doing here,” Redknapp said. ”It wouldn’t
be fair to anybody here if I started to let my thoughts wander
England Under-21 coach Stuart Pearce will take charge of
England’s exhibition against the Netherlands on Feb. 29. The FA
said another interim coach could be in place for Euro 2012.
Redknapp said the job is too big to be done by a part-timer.
”It is hard enough managing a league club let alone managing
your country. It’s two very difficult jobs,” he said. ”I think
your focus has got to be on one job.”