The minute another failed World Cup attempt by England ended amid acrimony and much finger-pointing in South Africa the speculation began as to who would replace Fabio Capello as the country’s next international manager. Not even an unbeaten start to the Euro 2012 qualifiers could dampen the printed media’s assertion that England’s recent run of uninspiring international performances was down to the former Champions League winning Italian manager.
The fact most of the over-paid millionaires who donned the English shirt during last summer’s tournament played so poorly couldn’t possibly be the problem (well not when you might need an interview with Stevie G or JT later on during the domestic campaign anyway).
The FA took stock of the poor World Cup performance but decided to stick by Capello ahead of the European Championship qualifiers but went as far as to say the next managerial appointment would be an Englishman. Jose Mourinho, Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger would be on most English fan’s dream-ticket list to take over but none of those three former Premier League winners has ever expressed an interest in the job.
So Fleet Street and the various mafia of red top tabloids have decided that irrespective of how England fare in the Poland and Ukraine in the summer of 2012 that the time is right for a change of management. Various names have been bandied about since the English papers took the decision to announce the imminent arrival of a new manager.
Somewhat surprisingly the name of Steve McLaren has been mentioned in more than one broadsheet. The much derided figure was last seen as an England manager holding an umbrella under pouring rain on the Wembley turf has reinvented himself in Holland and now Germany. McLaren was always highly regarded as at Derby County, Middlesbrough and Manchester United has completely reinvented himself since his dark days as England’s number one coach. \’The wally in the brolly’ took the managerial reigns at Twente Enscehede and promptly led his new side to Eredivisie glory before accepting the top job at Bundesliga outfit Wolfsburg.
Other names that have been floating about of late include Blackburn’s Sam Allardyce and Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Redknapp. The Spurs boss has made no secret of his desire to take the top job in English football and has many friends amongst the media. Allardyce would be a long shot having failed to inspire at Newcastle or most recently Blackburn Rovers. Under21 Coach Stuart Pearce is also another name that continues to crop up but his lack of experience at the highest club level all but rules him out of consideration for the position.
Lost amidst the race to find a suitable English replacement for Capello has been the fact new Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti would be a perfect fit for the England international side. Granted he is not English. I also take the point his mastery of the native language is not terrific (yet much better than the current incumbent’s.) I am fully aware of the fact he is Italian and not English but I my opinion he is the best manager available from the list of name being put forward.
Reason 1: Ancelotti would be a perfect fit for the England job for a multitude of reasons but the most relevant is his experience of dealing with inflated egos in the dressing rooms of both AC Milan and Chelsea. Taking control of a dressing room containing Didier Drogba, John Terry and Frank Lampard takes serious negotiating skills.
Reason 2: He was quick to stamp his authority and playing style at Stamford Bridge and promptly led the Pensioners to a Premier League title and FA Cup triumph scoring a record haul of 103 goals in 2009/2010. Getting a side who have won little to play the way you want them to is relatively easy but persuading a previously successful team full of international stars to adhere to your approach and philosophy is much more difficult. In this regard Ancelotti has done remarkably well in a short period of time at Stamford Bridge. Just think what he might do with an international side.
Reason 3: Ancelotti is on record at stating he would love to take the English national job once his time at Chelsea is at an end. His grasp of the English language is impressive and improving all the time. This is necessary for any foreign individual wishing to take the reigns of the international side, as the backlash in the tabloids to Fabio Capello’s recent mutterings will testify.
Should Chelsea continue to dominate the domestic game in England this season and go on to lift the coveted (especially by Abramovich) Champions League trophy then the calls to elevate Carlo Ancelotti to the top job. Whether Chelsea would be willing to let their Italian manager go is another question entirely but right now Ancelotti is the best man for the job.