Carlo Ancelotti has reminded the England national team that there are options beyond a homegrown coach by stating his interest in succeeding Fabio Capello as manager.
Though there is growing pressure on the English Football Association (FA) to commit to only replacing Capello with an Englishman when he concludes his contract in 2012, Ancelotti's potential candidacy could provoke a rethink.
The Chelsea manager won a Premier League and FA Cup double in his first season in England as he rapidly adapted to the demands of the domestic game.
He has steadily improved his ability with the English language and would offer a different kind of appointment to Capello, who was parachuted into the job with no previous experience of British football.
Ancelotti, who has consistently expressed his intention to work long-term in England, has a three-year contract at Chelsea that expires in the summer of 2012; precisely the point at which Capello is due to step down.
Asked if the England manager's job was one he would like to take on in the future, Ancelotti replied: "Why not? I don't know if [Harry] Redknapp [the Tottenham manager] is agreeing. Redknapp doesn't like foreigner coaches for the national team, but if you ask to me I can say 'Why not?'"
Ancelotti, 51,refuses to engage in the widespread criticism of Capello's failed World Cup campaign.
"I think to manage the national team and to manage a club is totally different," said Ancelotti.
While Ancelotti's interest in the England job is genuine, it may also serve to remind Roman Abramovich of the quality of his work at Stamford Bridge.
The Italian's achievements on the pitch have been blended with a refusal to complain about his resources despite having squad stripped of five experienced internationals for financial reasons in the close season.