Harry Redknapp wants a few days to recover from his court ordeal but said on Friday that he would consider any approach from the Football Association to become England manager.
The FA has to tread carefully, not just over Spurs’ sensitivities but also because Redknapp is clearly exhausted by the long legal case that ended with his acquittal on Wednesday.
“I need a few days really,’’ Redknapp said on Friday, giving the first extended interview since his court acquittal and the resignation of Capello. “It has knocked me for six. At the moment there has been no approach. But if the opportunity comes, and I get asked, I’ll have to consider it.”
The FA met at Wembley on Friday to discuss criteria for the candidates with Redknapp the favourite. The men charged with finding Fabio Capello’s successor are the chairman David Bernstein, general secretary Alex Horne, director of football development Sir Trevor Brooking and Club England managing director Adrian Bevington.
With Stuart Pearce appointed caretaker for the friendly against Holland on Feb 29, the FA’s gang of four is focusing on getting somebody in place for the European Championship in Poland and Ukraine.
Redknapp refused to be drawn publicly on whether he would initially seek to accept the job only for the Euros, but he smiled that, at the moment, he has other plans for June. “That is normally when we get a week’s holiday during June! Poland? No, it’s Sardinia we like!”
Some of those heading towards Krakow, such as Wayne Rooney and Rio Ferdinand, have already tweeted their hope that Redknapp will be in charge. “It’s nice,’’ said Redknapp. “A lot of the lads in the England squad I’ve managed, at West Ham, Tottenham or Portsmouth. It’s nice they say nice things about you.
“England have got great players. It’s about getting the best out of players or getting the best out of anybody. We all want a pat on the back.”
Redknapp agreed there was a psychological problem with England players who went into their shells on national duty. “They do. You wonder sometimes whether you’d rather see the England games played at Old Trafford or Anfield where there’s an atmosphere than when we play at home, where it’s intimidating [for the players].
“I’ve often thought that. You might go away somewhere and watch them play and it’s much more intimidating. Wembley, it seems, is a showpiece stadium, with an open pitch and not quite the same.
“If you were to go and play these games in a stadium where you can play an English style, maybe [it would be better]. We play at Wembley and it becomes a different style of football to what we play on a Saturday.”
White Hart Lane will envelop Redknapp in an emotional embrace on Saturday evening when Spurs entertain Newcastle United.
Although about to be tested by the FA, Redknapp’s bond with the club remains strong. “I’m happy here and enjoy my job,’’ said Redknapp, also noting the risk of being placed in the public stocks with England.
“Let’s not kid ourselves, it’s aggravation. There have been a lot of great managers since Alf Ramsey, unbelievable managers. When someone like Capello finds it hard going, it has to be hard. Apart from the World Cup, I felt that he is a great manager.
“Even the great Bobby Robson, who we all admire so much, found it difficult. He went through some terrible periods. He got slaughtered at times. And what happened to people like Graham Taylor?” Given the turnip treatment.
“Apart from Terry Venables, who came out from Euro 96 with loads of credit, we haven’t really had too much success, so it shows you what a difficult job it must be. No one has a magic wand.”
The pressure is relentless, dealing with all manner of issues.
Capello departed partly because of his poor handling of the John Terry controversy. “I wasn’t escaping,” Capello told an Italian television show. “I left because there was a misunderstanding.’’
Asked about the FA’s stance on Terry and the captaincy, Redknapp replied: “It’s a difficult one. You’re trying to get me out of the job before I can get in!”