The Harry Redknapp tax evasion case has thrown another curveball at the F.A as to who they can choose to replace Fabio Capello after the European Championships. Considering the F.A criteria is: experience, good knowledge of the English game and being English, Harry seems the obvious choice and is red hot favourite to take the job. But what if Harry doesn’t win his case? Where can the F.A turn? I outline three possible candidates.
The bookies second favourite after Redknapp, Hodgson certainly has the experience having been in management for the last thirty years. He also benefits from extensive knowledge of the game both domestically, and on the continent having managed in Switzerland, Italy, Denmark and Sweden. His CV is helped further by international experience with U.A.E, Finland and most notably Switzerland who he guided to 1994 World Cup qualification, their last World Cup appearance before that being 1966.
So, on the surface Hodgson has a pretty solid claim to the England job, his recent spells with Fulham, whom he guided to a Europa League final, and West Brom who achieved their highest league finish ever last season only help to further his claim. But what will stick most in English fans’ minds is Hodgson’s disastrous spell at Liverpool which ended after six months with Liverpool in an embarrassing 12th place.
There is speculation that Hodgson struggles in high-pressure jobs with big expectations, further proved by his underwhelming spell at Inter Milan in the late 1990s. Although it could be argued that both Liverpool and Milan were in a period of rebuilding when Hodgson took over, and despite this at Milan he reached a UEFA cup final. Hodgson is certainly one of the most experienced and well-travelled English managers still in the game.
Pardew is having an incredible season at Newcastle; guiding them to 6th in the table with a particular highlight being a 3-0 victory over Manchester United. The sales of Andy Carroll, Joey Barton and Kevin Nolan, considered the talismans of Chris Hughton’s Championship winning side, incited much controversy amongst the Newcastle fans. But the sales allowed Pardew to create a stronger, more competitive squad who play some of the best football in the league.
Prior to Newcastle, Pardew had successful spells at Reading, West Ham and Southampton. He has a particularly good record in knockout competitions, having guided West Ham through the 2005 Championship playoffs and the following season taking them to a F.A cup final. Furthermore, whilst at Southampton he won the Johnstone Paint Trophy.
The only thing that Pardew really lacks is experience. He has never managed outside England meaning he lacks the continental experience that other candidates have. He also has not really been tested at the highest level. Pardew himself has said he would be interested in the England job only after Redknapp had taken the role suggesting that he sees himself as England manager of the future, not of present day.
Probably the best choice out of the foreign managers linked to the job, especially considering he is currently out of the job. A vastly experienced manager at both international and club level, Hiddink is considered one of the best managers in the game.
At club level, Hiddink has managed Real Madrid, PSV and Valencia. He also had a brief tenure at Chelsea where he managed to turn a potentially catastrophic season into a fairly successful one by winning the F.A cup and reaching a Champions League semi-final. Whilst at Chelsea, Hiddink only lost one game. His management at some of the top teams in Europe show his ability to manage big personalities in high pressure situations.
Hiddink’s record at international level is exemplary, having led South Korea to a World Cup semi-final in 2002, the only Asian team to ever achieve this, and Russia to a European Championship semi-final in 2008, their best performance since the break-up of the Soviet Union. He also led Australia to their highest position in a World Cup Finals; the second round in the 2006 World Cup.
The only weakness in Hiddink’s claim to the England job is the F.A’s preference for an English England manager after Capello. Although in recent months, the F.A have made a U-turn on this policy by suggesting that the next England manager may not be English.