x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

A domestic solution in sight today for future England manager

Fabio Capello's successor to manage the England national team will be home-grown, with Harry Redknapp and Neil Warnock hot favourites to take over.

Harry Redknapp, right, has won plenty of admirers for the way he has managed Tottenham.
Harry Redknapp, right, has won plenty of admirers for the way he has managed Tottenham.

They are the great survivors of English management. A pair of sixtysomethings who have worked themselves up the divisions to a Premier League that prefers to hire coaches without local accents.

Watch out for the handshake when Harry Redknapp welcomes Neil Warnock to White Hart Lane this afternoon, it should be accompanied by broad grins.

Both are from the old school: Redknapp does not own a computer and Warnock has his daughter telling him how to use his mobile phone. But one of them could represent the future for England's national team. Fabio Capello is on his way out, perhaps as soon as January. Fed up with foreigners, English football supporters are calling for one of their own.

Redknapp, the Spurs manager, is the clear favourite, with Tottenham Hotspur's recent revival amplifying the volume of his many media admirers. Still, he is prepared to talk up Warnock's candidacy.

"I'm sure he could do the job," said Redknapp. "Neil has done fantastically. To walk in there and take QPR up [in his] first season takes some doing. People think it's easy, but they'd all been trying and no one got near it. I just think he understands football."

Warnock clearly knows the game when talking about the next national team manager: the job must go to an Englishman, and Redknapp is the best man for it.

"I don't see any others," he said. "Head and shoulders. It needs a Harry Redknapp. We have some great players and we need to relax a bit more. He will give the youngsters a chance."

It is an unusual reason for recommending Redknapp, a man with an unfashionable penchant for signing veterans and whose chairman had to insist that 21-year-old Kyle Walker be given a chance as first-team right back this season. Warnock knows the latter well, having developed Walker on loan through the first half of Queens Park Rangers' Championship-winning season last term.

He has benefited still further from another of Redknapp's unwanted youths, seeing Adel Taarabt blossom into a 19-goal, Football League Player of the Year in that campaign. The Moroccan was granted less than 60 minutes of first-team football by Redknapp before Spurs loaned, and ultimately sold, him to QPR.

Redknapp also fired the scout who brought the playmaker to White Hart Lane - Mel Johnson, now at Liverpool.

"In the end it was difficult and I didn't really want to get rid of Taarabt to be honest," said Redknapp. "I was scared to let him go because I always thought he would come back to haunt me or bite me.

"He can do anything, believe you me. When he picks that ball up and runs at you he has fantastic ability. I liked him as a lad, he's not a nasty boy. He's a bit of a fruitcake, but what's he worth now?"

Though Redknapp expects Taarabt to be "brilliant" in today's derby, he also expects a home win. Sixteen points from their last six Premier League fixtures have elevated Tottenham to a point where he is courting questions of competing for the title.

"Tottenham are getting stronger," said Redknapp. "It's wide open."

Tottenham challenging for the Premier League crown? A home-grown manager to end England's woes? Have we not heard this somewhere before?

sports@thenational.ae


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