AND chiefs have paved the way for a spectacular U-turn over manager Fabio Capello after admitting he could stay on beyond next summer’s European Championships.
The backtracking comes as England today prepare to discover who they will face at Euro 2012, when the draw is made in Kiev this afternoon.
Both the Football Association and Capello (inset) previously stated the tournament would bring down the curtain on the Italian’s mixed spell in charge of the national team.
But uncertainty over the future of Harry Redknapp, the overwhelming favourite to succeed Capello, and a dearth of other suitable English candidates, which is the FA’s preference, has caused a softening of their stance.
“Let’s worry about that when it happens,” said Sir Trevor Brooking, the FA’s director of football development. “Fabio’s contract ends in the summer and the mindset is for change, but you never say never.”
Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp is the outstanding home-grown candidate but faces a January trial over accusations of tax avoidance. The outcome could determine whether he gets the England job. Aside from Redknapp, who steered Spurs into the Champions League for the first time, there is a chronic shortage of successful English bosses.
The FA will be wary of appointing an up-and-coming manager following the disastrous tenure of Capello’s predecessor, Steve McClaren, who failed to qualify for Euro 2008.
“If we could get someone home-grown it would send out the right message,” Brooking added.
“But we don’t want to lock it in. How many candidates are there? I am sure Harry Redknapp would be high in the betting but we will look at it on merit at the time. When it comes to the end of the season it will be clearer.”
EURO 2012 | THE DRAW
Top seeds: Poland, Ukraine, Spain, Holland
Second seeds: Germany, Italy, ENGLAND, Russia
Third seeds: Croatia, Greece, Portugal, Sweden,
Fourth seeds: Denmark, France, Czech Republic, Republic of Ireland
(One team will be drawn from each pot)