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Redknapp: England job the peak

11 February 2012-PA Sport

Hero ... Spurs boss Harry Redknapp (Getty Images)

He wriggled a little bit. He squirmed. He even tried ignoring the subject.

But in the end, Harry Redknapp had to admit managing England is the ultimate job.

After the initial explanations, the Club England board went into lock-down as it began the process of finding Fabio Capello's successor.

The Football Association refused to offer any detail on a Wembley meeting between the four men - FA chairman David Bernstein, chief executive Alex Horne, director of football development Sir Trevor Brooking and Club England managing director Adrian Bevington - who must decide the next England manager.

In fairness, they have already laid down the criteria and how they will look for far more integration within the England youth teams than Capello ever seemed willing to consider.

But it still comes back to one man, the man endorsed by Sir Alex Ferguson just 45 minutes before he swept into the small meeting room at Spurs Lodge, Tottenham's training base in Chigwell to face so many members of the media some had to be turned away.

"It has to be," said Redknapp, when asked if managing England was the ultimate.

"But you also have to understand what a tough job it is.

"No-one has a magic wand and the list of top-class managers who have all gone in full of hope, people like Kevin Keegan, who did a fantastic job at Newcastle, and they all found it very, very difficult.

"It's certainly not an easy job. Whoever takes that job has a real job on their hands."

If Redknapp happened to be listening to a radio for any section of the three-hour journey from his Dorset home to Spurs' Essex base, the whoever would swiftly turn into him.

In the eyes of the press and the public, there is only one choice. The "right choice" as Ferguson put it.

"There's no doubt Harry's the best man," said Ferguson.

"He has good experience, the personality and knowledge of the game. He's changed the fortunes of every club he's been at. It's the right choice."

If even Ferguson is speaking as if the decision were a fait-accompli, it does not offer Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy much hope of tempting Redknapp to stay.

Levy could plausibly point to the brilliant job Redknapp has done at White Hart Lane and how it would be a shame not to finish what has been started with such staggering success.

However, amid the genuine appreciation for the manner Tottenham has stood by him during the dark times brought by the tax evasion trial that, for him, came to a satisfactory conclusion in midweek, just hours before Capello resigned, came an equally straightforward assessment of football's transient nature.

"Players are fine," said Redknapp in response to the difficulty of leaving behind a squad of players so carefully assembled.

"You know what football's like. Somebody comes. Somebody goes.

"I wouldn't kid myself. I get on great with the lads here. But they've all got their contracts.

"Something happens, a new manager arrives the next day and the players get on with their football."

Looking worn out by his personal tribulations and a heavy cold that consigned him to bed on Thursday, Redknapp was not his usually jaunty self.

It can only be a matter of when, rather than if, he has some pretty big things to consider, which would be done in conjunction with wife Sandra and son Jamie.

"No, it wouldn't be easy (leaving here)," he said. "It would be very difficult. I'm happy at work.

"But if the opportunity comes, and I get asked, I'll have to consider it. I'll have to make a decision, but I have to do what's right for me and my family."

However, the one thing Redknapp has already worked out, which Ferguson would confirm from personal experience, is that carrying out the role on a part-time basis is tricky.

The Manchester United boss did it in 1986, following Jock Stein's death, and found it tough balancing his commitments to Aberdeen and preparing a World Cup campaign.

"It would be very difficult for anybody to try and do two jobs," he said.

"Managing England is hard enough."

For all the men who have tried and failed since Sir Alf Ramsey won the World Cup in 1966, few will have come into the job on such a wave of goodwill.

If England triumph at Euro 2012, Redknapp will get all the credit.

Should they fail, the blame will be heaped on the man who has departed in such stunning circumstances.

"I wasn't escaping," Capello insisted on Italian television.

"I left because there was a misunderstanding. It had been going well but there are times in which you decide to leave."

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