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Knives Out For The New England Manager…

The knives are out for the England manager. The vacuum of leadership following the resignation of Fabio Capello saw a carousel of people publicly promoting the candidacy of one man to the extent where the decision to appoint anyone else would seem flawed from the start – that candidate was Harry Redknapp.

Cut the hyperbole and assess Redknapp’s career; successful spells at Bournemouth, West Ham, Portsmouth and Tottenham. The only blemish being Redknapp’s short spell at Southampton which ended in relegation. But any manager who has managed long enough will experience failure amongst the triumph. There can be no dispute Redknapp is a highly respected Premiership manager.

With regards to tactics, much has been said although it’s probably best said by one of his star players. Rob Beasley interviewed Rafael Van Der Vaart in November 2010;

“There are no long and boring speeches about tactics, like I was used to at Real Madrid. There is a clipboard in our dressing room but Harry doesn’t write anything on it”
[When asked about Redknapp’s tactical training] “…it’s not that we do nothing – but it’s close to that”.

Congenial with the media, popular with the players, Redknapp was the only choice to some. In 1999 the FA appointed a manager with little experience of managing beyond the English game, but a man who would motivate the players and bring out their Premiership form with Premiership tactics. Kevin Keegan’s England crashed out at the group stages despite the anomaly of a 1-0 victory over Germany. By October 2000 he would resign citing “I’ve not been good enough”.

12 years on and the Germans have re-emerged as an international power, the English have submerged in to non-qualification for Euro ’08 and a non-appearance at South Africa ’10. The English fans demanded an English manager. Call it another case of football amnesia but the two previous English full-time managers were disappointing and disastrous; to describe Keegan and McClaren respectively. The FA heeded the call, but against the popular grain decided to interview Roy Hodgson.

Hodgson has won nothing in the English game, but he has managed Inter Milan to a UEFA Cup final and Switzerland through to the 2nd round of USA’94 and through qualification for Euro’96. Combining his time with Switzerland and Finland he lost only 4 qualifiers out of 32. A fair achievement for any International manager, but a fine achievement for a manager of such nations. At best, the England squad doesn’t rank within the top 3 for Euro ’12. At worst it’s within the top 10. Why don’t we try a manager with tactical experience of doing exactly what England require in Euro 2012? Winning international football matches against the odds.

And why not put knives away?

For now.



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