England fans will be left with a feeling of 'what-could-have-been' after Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho admitted that he was just hours away from accepting the England manager's job in 2007 before the appointment of Fabio Capello.
In a report in l'Equipe, Mourinho claimed that it was just a last minute change of heart which stopped him from taking the England manager's hot-seat in 2007 after Steve McClaren was sacked for his failure to secure England's qualification for Euro 2008. He decided to stay in club management and went on to take over at Inter Milan in June 2008, leading them to a magnificent treble in his only season there.
He told l'Equipe, I was hours away - I almost signed up for the England national team. But at the last minute I began thinking, 'I am going to coach a national side, there will be one match a month and the rest of the time I will be in my office or overseeing matches. And then to have to wait until the summer to compete in a European Championship or a World Cup?' No, it wasn't for me.
So at the last moment I pulled back, preferring to wait for the right job to come along, a good club, a challenge that could motivate me. That was Inter (Milan).''
At the time, Mourinho had just left Chelsea and was taking a break. He conceded that, despite the avalanche of free-time in the first two months, it was horrible after a point.
When I left Chelsea, the first month was fantastic. I went to Africa, to Japan, I did tons of things I had not been able to do,'' he added. The second month was also good, but from the third onwards it was horrible, just awful.''
Mourinho also admitted to considering the manager's role at French side Paris St Germain before deciding against it as he was not convinced by the quality the French League had to offer..
When asked why he refused the Paris St Germain job, he said, I do not know. Perhaps because of the feeling that England, Spain or Italy are more powerful leagues, and we must make the most of the best years of our career by working at the highest level.''