England headless with two months to go


Stuart Pearce
With less than two months until Euro 2012 kicks-off in Warsaw, England alone of the finalists do not have a confirmed manager.

Tottenham Hotspur's 1-5 humiliation by Chelsea today may usher the hot favourite Harry Redknapp closer to the exit door at White Hart Lane and the Jubilee Line to Wembley Park.

Spurs can now add F.A. Cup elimination to their meagre tally of six points from 24 since Fabio Capello called it a day on the 9th of February and the light of national expectation shone upon their coach instead. The inescapable conclusion is that the speculation has unsettled the North London club, from the directors in the boardroom to the players on the field.

Stuart Pearce remains caretaker manager, and will have a busy summer if he coaches the national team at Euro 2012, followed by the Great Britain team at the Olympic Games in July & August, as well as maintaining his day job as England U21 manager.

England have a friendly away in Norway on the 26th of May, followed by a home friendly with Belgium on the 2nd of June, their final warm-up game before Euro 2012 begins in anger for them nine days later against France in Donetsk.

"We haven't approached anybody and have approached no club," FA General Secretary Alex Horne told the BBC last week. This line is hard to believe, and if true, reveals astonishing complacency and an irrational belief if the prosaic talents of Stuart Pearce.
"We know exactly what we're doing between now and our first game against France," Horne went on, astonishingly, "and we just need to slot a manager in, giving that individual enough time to get used to the set-up."

Yet waiting another month leaves the new coach with hardly anytime to "get used to the set-up". Perhaps the FA are hoping that by parachuting the new coach into the job as late as possible, England will enjoy the honeymoon long enough to last a successful Euro 2012.
Or else Pearce, who has sculpted a well-organised but uninspired U21 side, showed enough promise in his 2-3 debut defeat to Holland as national team manager, to have the job for at least the summer. He knows the set-up inside-out after all.

Whoever will occupy the team bench in June, England have been in another fine mess since Capello, the coach with the all-time best record of any Three Lions manager, felt he had no choice but to resign and walk away.

Euro 2012 managers by age:Giovanni Trapattoni (Ireland) 73
Dick Advocaat (Russia) 64
Franciszek Smuda (Poland) 63
Morten Olsen (Denmark) 62
Vicente del Bosque (Spain) 61
Oleg Blokhin (Ukraine) 59
Bert van Maarwijk (Netherlands) 59
Fernando Santos (Greece) 57
Erik Hamren (Sweden) 54
Cesare Prandelli (Italy) 54
Joachim Low (Germany) 52
Stuart Pearce (England) 49
Michal Bilek (Czech Republic) 46
Laurent Blanc (France) 46
Slaven Bilic (Croatia) 43
Paulo Bento (Portugal) 42

(c) Sean O'Conor & Soccerphile

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