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England Manager

Pearce appointed England manager on interim basis

The FA has confirmed that Stuart Pearce will manage England in the Euro 2012 warm-up game against Holland later this month.

STUART PEARCE HAS been appointed to replace Fabio Capello as England manager on an interim basis, FA Chairman David Bernstein confirmed this afternoon.

Pearce, who currently manages both the England U21 side and the Great Britain Olympic football team, will take charge of the senior squad for their first Euro 2012 warm-up game against Holland on 29 February.

Capello resigned last night, bringing a sudden end to his public disagreement with his bosses over their decision to strip John Terry of the English captaincy last week.

Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp, who was yesterday cleared of tax evasion charges by a London court, has been installed as the overwhelming favourite to succeed Capello on a permanent basis.

But, with only four months to go until England begin their Euro 2012 campaign against France in Donetsk on 11 June, the FA will have to act quickly to minimize the disruption to pre-tournament preparations.

Speaking at a press conference held in Wembley this afternoon, Bernstein refused to comment in detail on specific candidates for the post, but said that there was a preference for a British or English manager.

“The new manager will not definitely be English, but there is a preference for an English or a British person,” Bernstein said. “At the end we want the best person, but an English person would have a good start.”

An appointment will be made “as quickly as we properly can”, he added, with the FA’s board meeting tomorrow to draw up a broad outline for the recruitment process itself.

As news of Capello’s departure broke last night, a number of past and present English internationals publicly endorsed Redknapp’s candidacy, including Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney. The Tottenham manager denied that he had even thought about the appointment this morning, telling Sky reporters that his only focus was the club’s Premier League game against Newcastle on Saturday.

Asked how the torrent of public support for Redknapp would influence the FA’s recruitment process, Bernstein insisted that they would have to approach the task and possible candidates with an open mind.

“We want to make an appointment that the public are positive about and that excites the fans but we can’t be driven by that,” Bernstein said. “It goes without saying, if you only have one candidate, one would be in a very difficult situation in negotiating and so on.

We have to do this professionally, we have to have an open mind, we have to get a proper shortlist together and we have to bear in mind a lot of considerations, but certainly including the desires and wishes of the fans, our supporters. They are crucial to us.

Tottenham is my focus, insists relieved Harry Redknapp

What next in English football’s soap opera?

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