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Short term results too important in the eyes of West Brom boss

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Harry Redknapp has such a wind behind his appointment to succeed Fabio Capello, that it seems impossible he will not be the next England manager. However, I was struck by an utterance of Adrian Bevington, head of Club England, during the FA’s press conference following the departure of Fabio Capello. He spoke about building for the future and taking England all the way to 2018 and the World Cup in Russia.

It seems inconceivable that Redknapp, soon to be 65, could last that long. If he is appointed then it must be a short term one that takes England to Euro 2012 and, perhaps, Brazil in two years time. England are about to open the national training centre and, with much talk about getting the infrastructure right for long term success, it is possible that Redknapp’s appointment will be combined with a younger man who is seen as the long term successor. That could well be Stuart Pearce who has taken temporary charge.

Whoever that it is, it is unlikely to be Roy Hodgson, one of only seven Englishmen managing in the Premiership. He might stand a chance of making any shortlist to replace Fabio Capello, but is unlikely to be ahead of Redknapp. In recent years, I have often discussed the England job with Hodgson, one of our most thoughtful of managers.

Roy Hodgson has been touted as a potential England manager. Image courtesy of PlayUp

In the 2009-2010 season during his Fulham heyday, when Hugh Grant joked that he wanted to go to bed with him, Hodgson had told me that only the England job would tempt him away from the Cottagers. In the end it was Liverpool that tempted him. That proved an unfortunate experience with Hodgson unable to resist Anfield’s desire for the return of Kenny Dalglish. But his tenure at West Bromwich Albion shows that Hodgson is a fine manager, even if he will be remembered more his achievements abroad rather than at home.

What is more, he also has a shrewd idea of what to expect from the England job. As he told me a few months ago, “I would like the job if they thought I was the best candidate, having looked at the type of qualities I would bring to the job, the things they know I would be good at doing. I am not certain that is always the case when the appointment is made – mass media have a large influence. They also have a large influence in getting the manager kicked out.”

He went on to warn that we must not judge English football merely on the basis of how the national team is doing: “What is English football? Is English football the next result when England plays Bulgaria? And if it is Bulgaria 1, England 5, then English football is fantastic. If it is Bulgaria 1, England 0 then English football is nothing at all. English football’s health is judged on five results a year. It has got to be more important than that. The Football Association has to ask what we can do to push our football forward: investing in various aspects of the game, having better coaching, what we are putting into our youth teams, how the academies are being run. The English national team winning or losing is crucial, but whether the team wins or loses, the work underneath still has to go on.”

Harry Redknapp would do well to read these words as over the next few days he gets that call from the FA and finally gets ready to take the job he has always felt was his destiny.

      

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