Sport Soccer

Tuesday 12 December 2017

England to fight for Capello

FA determined to retain manager despite Inter Milan interest

Glenn Moore

Trevor Brooking last night said that the FA are confident that Fabio Capello will remain England manager -- even if he receives overtures from Internazionale

The Italian club appear to be on the brink of sacking Rafael Benitez after the Spaniard issued what seemed a 'back-me-or-sack-me' ultimatum to club president Massimo Moratti at the weekend.

Capello, despite a long association with city rivals AC Milan, would be high on the list of possible replacements and may be sufficiently disaffected with life as England manager to accept.

However, despite growing media disenchantment with Capello, the FA are broadly behind him, feeling he should be given a chance to show he has learned from the mistakes of the World Cup campaign.

Brooking, the FA's director of football development, said: "In a role like Fabio's there is speculation all the time, but from our point of view he is contracted to 2012."

Brooking reiterated that when the time came to find Capello's replacement they would, ideally, be an Englishman.

"It sends out the right message," he said. "We are trying to bring through young coaches, we want them to do our courses.

"It didn't work for Steve McClaren but we can produce coaches as good as anyone.

"We have had a situation where the bigger clubs have gone overseas, which has made it difficult for our managers to get experience in the Champions League."

That is changing, with Roy Hodgson -- now at Liverpool -- having reached a Uefa Cup final with Fulham last season, and Harry Redknapp's Spurs shining in the Champions League.

"When the situation does arise we don't know (now) where the leading English managers will be, and how much it will take to get them out of their contact situations," said Brooking.

Two posts which need to be filled are that of a new assistant to Capello, to work with the development teams at U-21, U-19 and U-17 level, and the Great Britain Olympics coach.

The make-up of the GB team needs to be determined between the four home associations and the British Olympic Association but the coach looks likely to be English. Stuart Pearce, whose contract as U-21 coach expires this summer, is a favourite for the position.

"If I were Stuart I would want to ask (why not me?). It would be a strange individual who did not ask," said Brooking.

Having been to the Sydney and Athens Olympics in his former role with Sport England, he said: "It will be fantastic. The country will be taken over by the Olympics. It is a great opportunity to develop the game and it would be a travesty not to have two (male and female) British teams involved."

The FA Board is also due to appoint its next chairman. David Dein, the former Arsenal vice-chairman who impressed in the failed 2018 World Cup bid, is the leading contender.

However, his long-standing enmity with David Richards, the chairman of the Premier League, may lead to a blindside candidate emerging or the decision being delayed. (© Independent News Service).

Irish Independent

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