Pearce takes charge as England mull Capello

By @ibtimes on

Stuart Pearce will take temporary charge of England for this month's friendly against the Netherlands while the search for Fabio Capello's permanent successor as boss gets underway ahead of June's European Championship.

Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp, the hot favourite to fill the vacancy, said on Thursday he was paying no attention to speculation linking him with the job and was concentrating on Saturday's Premier League match against Newcastle United.

I don't know anything about the England job, I've not thought about it. I've got a big job to do, I've got a big game on Saturday with Tottenham so Tottenham is my focus, he told reporters as he left his home on the south coast.

Capello, who quit the job on Wednesday after a disagreement with the Football Association over John Terry being stripped of the captaincy, issued a short statement as he flew out of London.

I would like to thank all players, staff and Football Association for the professionalism they have shown during my years as manager of the English National Team, said the Italian, who helped England qualify for two major championships but flopped at the 2010 World Cup.

A very special thanks to all the supporters - they've always supported the team and me in our job. I wish all of them every success in achieving all their sporting goals.

Capello resigned after 42 matches in charge leaving England without a manager or captain four months before the start of Euro 2012, where they will be aiming for their first major trophy since 1966.

England Under-21 and British Olympic team coach Pearce will lead the team when they host Netherlands at Wembley on February 29, the first of their three friendlies before the start of the European Championship in Poland and Ukraine in June.

Pearce, 49, made almost 750 league appearances during his playing career. The majority was with Nottingham Forest but he also played for Coventry City, Newcastle United, West Ham United and Manchester City, as well as picking up 78 caps for England.

He has been the England Under-21 manager since 2007 and was one of Capello's assistants with the senior team after the Italian took over the following year.

He has huge experience inside and outside this organisation ... he knows the players very well, FA Chairman David Bernstein told a news conference. I have great confidence in Stuart, we will be in good hands.

Our priority then will be to appoint a new England manager ... with a total focus on getting the best person in place as soon as we sensibly can.

We don't want to rush the process, we want to do it properly, do it professionally ... we'll be putting a shortlist together of key people. We'll do that as soon as we can.

ENGLISHMAN PREFERRED

Bernstein said the board would be sitting down on Friday to discuss the issue.

While Bernstein would not comment on the widespread media and player speculation over Redknapp, he said there was a preference for an Englishman to get the job.

He will not definitely be English but clearly there is a preference for an Englishman or a British person but in the end we want the best person so I'm certainly not prepared to rule out anything at this stage, Bernstein said.

Redknapp's photo was on the front and back pages of most British national newspapers on Thursday, the day after a jury cleared him on two charges of tax evasion in a high-profile criminal trial that lasted for 13 days.

Redknapp's acquittal and Capello's departure came within hours of each other on a truly remarkable day with the drama continuing on Thursday.

Keith Mills, a director at Tottenham, said no one at the club wanted Redknapp to leave.

If he is approached then clearly he has a big decision to make, he told the BBC.

He's managing a top-three team in the biggest league in the world. We're doing incredibly well at the moment. I know he loves it. It will be a tough decision for him.

The FA chairman was keen to emphasise that Capello had left the job in amicable circumstances, saying he had always behaved with dignity and honour and that Wednesday's events had been concluded with a handshake, a sentiment echoed by Capello in his statement.

Bernstein said he was satisfied his acceptance of Capello's resignation on behalf of the board was the right decision for the FA.

Capello had felt undermined when the FA stripped Terry of the captaincy after the player's criminal trial for allegedly racially abusing Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand was put back until after Euro 2012.

The Italian went on television in his homeland to criticise the FA's decision, prompting Wednesday's talks between Capello and his employers which led to his resignation.

We all believed that the John Terry case would be dealt with in March or April, when it was postponed we were taken by surprise ... and the board made a very quick and important unanimous decision regarding the captaincy, Bernstein said.

I do agree that the manager is the most important person in a football club or organisation like this but there are moments when the board and the chairman have to step up to the plate when strong leadership is required.

(Reporting by Mike Collett; Writing by Sonia Oxley; Editing by Ed Osmond/Mark Meadows)

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