Monday, 13 February 2012

Becoming international manager has become a national debate

Fabio Capello is no longer in charge of the English football team.

Stepping down this week to leave the hotseat vacant for someone else to lead them out at Euro 2012.

There has been a lot of talk since, that the next English manager should be just that - English.

Some go as far as saying that the same rules should apply to international managers that do to international players.

If large countries like England, Germany or Italy were to insist on their national team manager being born in their own country, then I could understand.

They have such a large pool to choose from.

But Dutchman Gus Hiddink did more for South Korean football in his 2 years in charge then anyone in the previous 50.

Giovanni Trapattoni helped Ireland qualify for their first major tournament in 10 years.

In fact, Ireland have never qualified for a major tournament with an Irish manager.

The development of football in Africa has been helped enormously by an influx of ‘foreign’ managers over the past twenty years.

Greece won Euro 2004 under a German.

Portugal reached that same final under a Brazilian.

Russia are currently managed by a Dutchman.

How are the smaller countries supposed to develop if they are only allowed to choose from their own country.

And what happens to players who play for a country they weren’t born in?

Can Deco only manage Brazil?

Miroslav Klose manage Poland?

Patrick Vieira Senegal?

Or do the same rules apply to managers?

Rafa Benitez has never managed another country but has lived in Liverpool long enough to qualify for them.

But after managing England for two years, becomes illegible when the top job in Spain comes up.

Managers like Gus would never have been able to have managed South Korea, Australia, Russia or Turkey as he had already overseen the reigns of the Netherlands for four years.

And some people this week have even put Martin O’Neill’s name forward.

Not exactly demanding an English manager.

But rather a British one.

If the FA are willing to go as far as Northern Ireland to find their new manager, then why not go as far as France?

And then why not as far as Italy?

Surely Martin is as foreign as Arsene Wenger?

I do understand where the English are coming from when they say they’d like an Englishman in charge.

In an ideal world, they would have a strong enough candidate every time the job came up.

But should the birthplace of a manager be a factor when it comes to getting the job?

The best man for England right now might well be from Poplar.

But he might instead be from Glasgow.

Men from Middlesex, Doncaster and York have all been in the hotseat in the Premier League era, but the only man to take them to a quarter finals of a major tournament since 1996 was from Sweden.

Harry Redknapp has proved to be the kneejerk favourite for the job.

But what if someone like a Sir Alex Ferguson or a Jose Mourinho were to declare an interest in the job.

Should Harry get it because he was born in Poplar?

Well if England insist on an Englishman, he surely will.

Meaning they might well get a good man for the job - but perhaps not the best one...

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