English FA chief: Redknapp amazing, fine manager
Updated: February 11, 2012, 18:15
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LONDON(AP) The head of the English Football Association has hailed Harry Redknapp's "amazing'' work at Tottenham while saying the vacant national team job is best suited to an older coach.
Following Fabio Capello's sudden resignation on Wednesday, the 64-year-old Redknapp is the main contender to lead England at the European Championship in four months.
Amid an outpouring of support from England players for Redknapp, though, the FA has avoided anointing him publicly before making an approach to Tottenham.
But, for the first time since Capello walked out of England, FA chairman David Bernstein has spoken publicly of his admiration for Redknapp and said "it would be nice to reflect the national mood.''
Redknapp seems to meet Bernstein's preference for an Englishman who can produce exciting football, having steered Tottenham to third in the Premier League having been bottom when he took charge in 2008.
"We do understand the hype - the guy has done amazingly recently,'' Bernstein said at Wembley Stadium. "He is a fine manager and he is English ... despite all this hype we need to come to a measured, professional decision.''
No English manager has been as successful as Redknapp recently, with Newcastle - managed by fellow Londoner Alan Pardew - crushed 5-0 on Saturday by Tottenham, which is five points off the league summit.
Redknapp, though, has endured troubling times away from the dugout recently, undergoing heart surgery in November and going through a two-week criminal trial before being cleared of tax fraud on Wednesday.
"Although there are huge pressures arising (from the England job), it's a different dynamic from being a club manager as we all know,'' Bernstein said. "There aren't 50 or 60 matches a year so in a way you could say this is more suited in some ways to an older person than club management where the demands are absolutely incessant.''
Bernstein insists there will be no "penny-pinching,'' recognizing the need to potentially pay compensation to prise a manager from a club.
Redknapp's White Hart Lane contract runs through to the end of the 2012-13 season. But if he found the Tottenham job too tempting to leave, the FA would have to ensure the coach hired did not feel like the second choice.
"This job will be so attractive still to many people,'' Bernstein said. "(We) will get interest from serious parties or engender interest despite this particular hype (about Redknapp). So I am not bothered by the hype.''
Redknapp appears unlikely to take the England job before the end of the season, insisting he won't leave Tottenham "in the lurch.''
The FA said there was no need to rush the decision with no matches until May after the Feb. 29 friendly against the Netherlands, when under-21 coach Stuart Pearce will be in charge, and Euro 2012 not kicking off until June 11 against France.
"There is time for an experienced manager to pick up the reigns,'' Bernstein said.
Capello quit after four years following a disagreement with the FA over John Terry being stripped of the captaincy by Bernstein due to a pending trial on a racism charge.