Friday, November 23, 2007

McLaren surprise

Little surprise that Steve McLaren is out as England manager, after a terrible Euro qualifying campaign that saw the Three Lions crash out for next years Euros (this loss also saw them drop to a second seed for the 2010 group qualifications for the World Cup) Of course all the punters are lining up to bet on who will take over for England, names ranging from Martin ONeill to the Special One to Alan Shearer are being bandied about. So here is my take on candidates:

Wenger - 50,000 to 1. Has always made it clear that he rather manage at the club level where he can spend more time with his players. Plus last time I checked Spanish, Ivorian, Dutch and French players can still not suit up for England. The French federation sniffed around when the post was open but backed down when Wenger made his club preferences known

Mourinho - 20 to 1. I know the Special One has taken himself out of the running, but what happens if England get a relative easy qualifying group and the FA offers him oodles of money. He knows the English game and has a large enough ego to take on the challenge, seeing himself saving England much as he views himself having res erected Chelsea....only problem is he will not have Russian billions to buy defensive midfielders or strikers....

Benetiz - 500 to 1. The Spaniards name has come up the past day, but I highly doubt it. He has never given an inclinations of wanting to manage a national side, and if so, why he not wait until after the Euros when Aragones has already declared he will not return to manage Spain? At least with Spain, Benetiz may have enough talent to stick with his favorite rotation system.

O'Neill - 5 to 1. Passed over when the FA selected McLaren, think the FA is regretting that? Could the second time be the charm? Claims he has no interest and is dedicated to Villa, but if the FA comes to him with a fat contract could he really turn down a chance to manage England...granted Villa might have a better chance qualifying for the WC at this point....

Capello - 3 to 1. Making a case for himself in the press. The former Real Madrid man is not one to shy away from a challenge and has taken on some important club sides. He may be just the man since he is not afraid to ruffle feathers and can instill some stability to an England team especially defensively. Might not win "pretty" but gets results.

Lippi - 12 to 1. Another Italian with solid pedigree, he is currently free and demonstrated with Italy can take a team, full of uncertainty and manage them to a title.

Big Sam - 40 to 1. I might have given him better odds had Allardyce still been at Bolton, but his move to a"bigger" club in Newcastle and his immediate lack of success make it more difficult to see him appealing to the FA.

Redknapp - 12 to 1. Always a master at getting the most out mid tier talent (so maybe perfect for the job!) But as Sky sports pointed out he is a master at finding inexpensive pieces in the transfer market.....not a skill needed at the international level.

Klinsmann - 4 to 1. Now that would be an interesting choice... a German at the head of the English team. Churchill would roll over in his grave. It is clear that Klinsmann may still be interested in managing, see his flirtation with the US job as well as LA Galaxy. The appeal of taking over another major national power may have some appeal to him, but I think in the end the controversy it would stir in his native nation would be too much, especially after all the good will he won from his surprise 3rd place finish.

Scolari - 200 to 1. Big Phil was heavily courted before the FA settled on McLaren, could they try again? Yes. But I think it will bear the same results. After successfully qualifying for the Euros, Big Phil should not be going anywhere anytime soon.

Hiddink - 200 to 1. See Big Phil.

Shearer - 3 to 1. The former England Captain and striker has made it clear he would be interested. He might be a good choice, for no other reason than the FA would get some good will from the fans and that might buy Shearer time, which for the England manager is the biggest luxury of all. Shearer is a former player, and has played with some of the existing team. He has always been in English football so knows the league, the press, the pressures and the system. Granted he has no management experience, but neither did Klinsmann with Germany or Bilic with Croatia...and lets face it the prior England managers had managerial "resumes" and that got them no where.

The final verdict and it is early, but I think the FA should lean towards Shearer or the like. They do not need a manager that does not know the English game, something mangers like Capello would have to ramp up on. Having a former captain and player would give them instant buzz, which they badly need. And Shearer would have the respect of the players, so when he tells Lampard to sit down for Gerrard he would be listened to. Of course Shearer does not have the managerial or tactical experience, but would have to surround himself with assistants that do...I think in a bad situation this may be the best route.

Of course I am sure the FA will put more names into this hat.....let the soap opera continue.

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