Picking the England Manager: The FA Is Right Not to Rush the Appointment

Daniel ThomasContributor IMarch 2, 2012

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 26:  Harry Redknapp, manager of Tottenham Hotspur looks dejected during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur at Emirates Stadium on February 26, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Clive Mason/Getty Images

The Football Association admitted Friday that it would not be rushed into appointing a new England manager.

Trevor Brooking, the FA director of development, stated:

"We’re not in a rush. We have a couple of months to take it forward. I don’t see anything happening soon."

Perhaps tellingly, he added:

"We obviously want to be aware of all the sensitivities before taking it forward. There are sensitivities."

The most obvious "sensitivity" is that the future England manger is almost certainly employed elsewhere at present.

After the amount of money the FA spent on obtaining, retaining and then releasing Fabio Capello, I doubt it wants to rush into buying a manager out of his contract before all options are considered.

The quote could be construed as further proof that Harry Redknapp is a dead certainty to be appointed, given the "sensitivities" that would surround Tottenham releasing him from his current contract. 

But during the last few days, it appears that the FA has drawn up a shortlist and that other candidates are being considered for the role.

Among the other British managers thought to be on the list are Roy Hodgson, Sam Allardyce, Alan Pardew and Martin O'Neill, all of whom are currently managing elsewhere. 

There has even been talk that the FA chairman, David Bernstein, is considering an approach for Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, although the FA is thought to prefer an English appointee.

Until a permanent appointment is made, Stuart Pearce will continue to fill in as manager, and not all are happy with this state of affairs.

Stoke manager Tony Pulis has said:

"I think everybody universally believes that Harry should have the job and I think the FA should do that as quickly as they can..."if they [the FA] are thinking he should be the manager to take England on further, then I think it all needs sorting out before the European Championship [this summer]—even if he is just there as an observer and allows Stuart to do it."

Interestingly, Pulis also seems to recognize that Redknapp can't just up and leave Tottenham.

Pulis added:

"I spoke to him the other day and I know that he is desperate for Tottenham to do well, so I doubt he will take it [and leave Spurs] while the season is still running."

This is the apparent crux of the issue. Many are clamouring for a new manager to be installed as soon as possible, but all the strongest candidates for the job are already employed, making such a manoeuvre difficult, if not impossible.

So, I agree with the FA: Why the rush?

Capello was pushed into resigning in February. As soon as the FA accepted his resignation, it ensured that the England team would be underprepared for the European Championships.

Whether a manager takes over now or at the end of the season makes very little difference.

Any candidate who is serious about wanting or accepting the position will be already taking a close interest in which players he wants to take to the Euros, and how he thinks the England team should play.

Moreover, even if a manager was appointed now, he would not get a prolonged period in which to interact with the players until the postseason friendlies. If the FA was going to rush through an appointment, it should have done it in time for this past Wednesday's friendly.

Now that the game is gone, there are no new matches until the summer—the exact time when the FA are proposing to make an appointment.   

Unless the England players are so insecure that they need to know who the appointee is now, surely they can wait until the summer for a new manager.

And ultimately, whether England installs a manager now or in two months time, it won't fundamentally make the England players any better.

Whoever is appointed to the role has a titanic task on his hand if England are to win the Euros. An extra two months of a new appointee twiddling his thumbs, waiting for his players to report to the pre-Championship training camp, is hardly going to make a crucial difference.

Instead, the FA should use this time to ensure it does its homework and picks the best candidate possible.

English football is beset by short-term thinking, and, for once, the FA is doing the right thing by taking things slowly.