22 November 2007

It's not always good to be right.

Last night the expected happened, and England failed to qualify for a major tournament for the first time in 14 years. This has been quickly followed up by the FA sacking McClaren and starting an urgent review of football in the country.

On the replacement coach a number of names have been mentioned as possible successors. Personally, I hope whomever is appointed is picked for his skills and not because he is a "safe" option, as McClaren was considered. Among the listed are:
  • Scolari: current Portugal coach and former coach of Brazil when they won the World Cup in 2002. He is proven on the international scene with a good pedigree while leading Brazil, I think he has been found a bit lacking for Portugal. This makes me question whether he can achieve much with England.
  • Mourhino: the controversial former Chelsea boss is currently sunning himself somewhere. Unproven on the international circuit but impeccable in domestic tournaments, he has stated that he is only interested in club football at present and would only consider coaching Portugal. Still, if there were enough 0's on the cheque, I am sure he could be persuaded.
  • Lippi: former Italian coach who won them the World Cup. Also whereabouts unknown, but may be worth a punt. However, Italy did not play particularly attractive football last year.
  • Klinsmann: the former German coach took them to the semis, even though it was his first managerial role. I cannot see the English press taking a German as the national coach though.
  • Hiddink: just signed a contract with Russia, who made it to Euro 2008 at England's expense. I cannot see him giving up that role; he doesn't want ex-KGB hitmen after him for a start!

Then there are some British names in the mix:

  • Sanchez: got a win over England when coaching Northern Ireland although currently with Fulham. A possible candidate.
  • Allerdyce: was annoyed he wasn't offered the role last time and to be frank, I would rather have had McClaren. I am not convinced that Allerdyce has enough to offer and has been found to be somewhat lacking in the more pressured environment of Newcastle.
  • O'Neill: the Aston Villa was turned down for the role originally, and although I think he has a lot of potential, it may be too early for him.
  • Shearer: there has been talk of the former Newcastle captain taking the coaching position. The worst that could happen is that this is done to try and emulate Klinsmann's success.
The selection process I imagine will be a drawn out affair, especially as a couple of the candidates are tied up until post Euro 2008. Personally, I favour Mourinho - as mentioned is untested in the international arena, but on the plus side he can eat the English press for breakfast and spit them out; and unfortunately that is prerequisite of the job nowadays. Failing that, given that we have such a long time to the next qualifying campaign, give O'Neill a run and allow him to build the team up.

For the review, I have written before about what I believe England needs to introduce in to their coaching. Hopefully, they will use this opportunity to reconstruct themselves as France did post Euro 1994. It is however a long shot if they can't get the clubs on board...

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