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It has to be Harry

Merse says FA's choice is simple, but will they mess it up?

Paul Merson - Paul Merson Posted 9th February 2012 view comments

I watched The FA's press conference on Sky Sports News and they said Fabio Capello's successor won't necessarily be English.

That would be an absolute joke.

This is the England team we're talking about here. You can understand it when a third-rate football country invites a German manager or an English manager to go and pick them up to get them to a certain level, but no way should that be the case with England.

Redknapp: the only choice for Merson

Redknapp: the only choice for Merson

You've also got to remember that The FA have implemented a rule whereby you need to earn your coaching badges if you want to be a manager in the Premier League.

You have to spend all sorts of money and take up an unbelievable amount of time to get those badges, so what does it say if they give the biggest job to a foreign manager? The coaching courses obviously aren't good enough if we can't produce an England manager.

For years our international players have had a fear factor, but that would be completely wiped out if Harry gets the job. People will be flocking to play - and people will be flocking to watch as well.

Paul Merson
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If we end up with a foreign coach it will prove that they don't rate their own system - and effectively they're just taking money off people.

Also, there's no way in a million years that an Englishman would have done what Capello did this week. You'd never be able to show your face again if you resigned from the England job. If you get the sack that's fair enough, but I can't understand why you'd resign so close to a tournament.

I would say Capello is a top manager and he did well to get England to the Euros (although it wasn't the hardest group in the world), but it's a phenomenal decision to walk out four months before the finals.


While I think it's important that the next manager is English, it's even more important that it's Harry Redknapp.

The decision is a no-brainer and the only worry is that The FA might get it wrong. I'm not sure they have much of a clue if I'm being totally honest and you've only got to look at some of the decisions they've made for evidence of that.

Look at the John Terry issue. If they were going to take the armband off him, then why didn't they do it when he was first charged? They should have been decisive there and then - and they should also have asked Capello first because he's the manager of the team.

So they got that wrong, but for me the next decision is a no-brainer. It has to be Harry. I think every player would say the same thing.

He has had a great career and the job he's done at Tottenham has been unbelievable. A few years ago they were a million miles behind Arsenal and now they're a million miles in front of them.

I remember when he convinced me to sign for Portsmouth. He called me up and encouraged me to go down there, even though I had to take a pay cut. I took a chance and went to play for him because I liked what he said.

We had 10 new players on free transfers, but he was brilliant to play for and we got Portsmouth promoted to the Premier League. He's one of those managers who lets you go out and play.

People say he's a wheeler-dealer, but that's hugely disrespectful because in terms of tactics he's as good as anyone I played under. He knows everything about the other teams and he gives you the belief to go out and play your game; anybody who's played under him will tell you that.

He also isn't fussed if he upsets someone, which is a something you need to be a top-drawer coach. You have to do that from time to time, but he's also very fair.


I would pay to go to Wembley and watch England if he was the manager. You only have to look at the way Tottenham play the game; it's very rare that they go anywhere and don't look like scoring.

For years our international players have had a fear factor, but that would be completely wiped out if Harry gets the job. People will be flocking to play - and people will be flocking to watch as well.

People might argue that being the Tottenham manager is a better situation for him, but as an Englishman, if you get offered the England job and you don't take it then you will regret it for the rest of your life. That - and the chance to lead your team out at Wembley - are the two reasons you go into management.

The court case is out of the way now and he wouldn't have the problems with the press that other England managers have had. He's always frank with the media and will make their jobs very easy so they'll be on his side - and therefore they will make it easy for him.

There are other candidates, of course. If it isn't Harry then I wouldn't be surprised if they looked at Roy Hodgson, who is English, has been around the world and has an exceptional knowledge of football.

My other choice would be Glenn Hoddle. If Glenn hadn't said what he said all those years ago then he would still be the manager today. I played under him and he was very good. We got knocked out of the 1998 World Cup by Argentina, but somehow we came back as heroes because his tactics had got us to penalties with 10 men.

However, I have to say I would be shocked if Harry turned this opportunity down. In fact, the only thing that wouldn't surprise me is if The FA messed it up.

But surely they can't get this one wrong?

Comments (6)

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Arthur Blundell (Tottenham Hotspur fan) says...

Obviously none of the Spurs fans want to see Harry go, yes that's selfish of us. Yet you only have to read past interviews with him where he admits to being a workaholic and needs to be at the training ground amongst the players. The England job is a poison chalice, has been for years and all the clamouring for Harry right now will just melt away if he takes the job and loses two games (Keegan, Taylor and wally with the brolly witness).

Posted 06:51 10th February 2012

Huiru Wam (Tottenham Hotspur fan) says...

As a Spur supporter, I can't wait to see the back of him. I, for one, would not want him to sully our great club's name as he is constantly wheeling and dealing in shady businesses. If he takes the England job, I would say good riddance. For I do not want to see him abandon us when the going gets tough - like what he did with the two previous clubs he manages. By the way, did not he say he is almost illiterate?

Posted 06:49 10th February 2012

Tony K (Birmingham City fan) says...

I completely agree with most other people that Harry is the man for the job. I have two questions though: 1- Would Harry have to leave Spurs to manage England? Does anyone else think he could do both? 2- Does anyone really believe that the media would give Harry an easy ride? I think that ultimately editors of newspapers and producers of TV and radio want headlines and as much as reporters might want England to succeed, they would be happier to be the one that brings their boss the headline that will sell papers or get people to watch or listen. What does everyone else think?

Posted 23:52 9th February 2012

Chris Earle (Newcastle United fan) says...

why does it have to be an englishman? you say 'You can understand it when a third-rate football country invites a German manager or an English manager to go and pick them up to get them to a certain level, but no way should that be the case with England', but why not? are you having delusions of grandeur? can you remember the world cup? the players are prima donnas, that is the problem. the last time we appointed an Englishman is was a disaster. this is just a case of another little Englander being a xenophobe, it doesn't matter what country a manager/coach comes from, they are professionals and they want to win, nationality has nothing to do with it, what needs to happen is an overhaul of the squad and no england manager will put his neck on the line to do it because they know how vicious the English media is, lose one game and your under the kosh, journalists always question the England managers decisions even if they were screaming for them before matches. people just need to accept we aren't very good, we aren't technical enough. this boils down to problems at a grass roots level, were lads are picked because they are big and strong rather than actual ability, it is this foolish English attitude of 'you have to have big lads', rubbish, look at Barca and Spain. we have a tough group at the euros and, to be honest, i can see us losing every game. no one, but no one, not even crooked 'saint' harry redknapp can polish a turd!

Posted 22:24 9th February 2012

Conan Curley (Manchester United fan) says...

3rd rate countries having foreign managers....are Ireland a 3rd rate team..trap,an italian has improved us so much over the last 3/4 years...maybe England are the 3rd tier team you talk about Paul... Overrated more like!!

Posted 21:31 9th February 2012

Really! Johnson (Sunderland fan) says...

Public pressure never got Brian Clough appointed! How about Jurgen Klinnsman? German monarchy, German coach?

Posted 21:23 9th February 2012

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