Posted in Achieve, Sports on 12 April 2012 | by Amit

Is Redknapp The Right Man For England?

By Mike Levaggi (found tweeting at @Prnewsmike)

 

With public demand calling for the next England manager to be English, Harry Redknapp is the odds-on favourite to land the role, but before what could be his last FA Cup semi-final as a club boss, you have to ask yourself, is the Spurs supremo the right man for the job?

 

International management is a very different kettle of fish to that of club management, as Fabio Capello, Steve McClaren and to a lesser extent, Sven Goran Eriksson have all found out. All successful with their club sides, all fell short on footballs’ biggest stage.

 

The key elements required to be a top international manager are winning matches against teams of a similar standard or better than you, whilst handling huge media and public pressure on every game. It’s a tough job.

 

Harry seems tailor made for the role. An Englishman, with links to West Ham, media friendly, a son building a career in football punditry and a raft of catchy soundbites we like to hear. His team has had a good season overall (that could get better should they finish in the Champions League places) and most importantly, he’s likeable.

 

However, as pressure has ramped up this season, Redknapp’s team has tailed off alarmingly and Spurs have also shown a penchant to fold in the big games. This season, Spurs have won only one out of the six matches against teams ahead of them, losing by an aggregate score of 20-8, the worst record of the teams in the top six. In the games against closest rivals for fourth, Chelsea– they’ve drawn twice. So out of eight games of importance, Spurs have picked up a total of just five points.

 

What are the other options? Well, Martin O’Neill seems to be the forgotten man. He may be Northern Irish and at 33-1, it seems unlikely he’ll land the role, but his CV poses a solid argument.

 

In 29 years in management, Redknapp has won an FA Cup and has come second in the League Cup, as well as winning an FA Trophy with Bournemouth. He’s also managed a team to promotion twice.

 

Martin O’Neill on the other hand has won two League Cups, and come runner up with unfancied Leicester– a team he took into the top flight, reached a League Cup Final with Aston Villa and won two FA Trophies with Wycombe.

 

Most compelling however, is his record at Celtic. When he turned up in Glasgow, Celtic had just finished 21 points behind rivals Rangers and had won only one league title in the last 11 years. The cauldron of intense media pressure at Scotland’s two biggest clubs, like in Spain is the nearest thing you can get to the pressure of the England job.

 

O’Neill guided Celtic to a domestic treble in his first season and went on to win two further league titles and Scottish cups in the next four years, as well as narrowly losing to Jose Mourinho’s Porto in the UEFA Cup Final in 2002/03.

 

He also won seven consecutive Old Firm derbies, finishing with a record of 16 wins to eight losses – the best ratio for a Celtic Manager in the last 20 years. O’Neill is a Manager who gets the best out of his teams in the biggest games.

 

Like Sir Alf Ramsey, who won a league winners medal with unfancied Ipswich, the year after promotion into the top flight – O’Neill is tactically astute, doesn’t rotate or change his team too much, and has worked with a team of solid, if unremarkable players to win matches.

 

If relegation threatened Sunderland continue to power up the table, maybe the FA will take a second look at the man from Kilrea. Alternatively, Redknapp may guide Spurs to the fourth Champions League spot and decide another crack at Europe’s elite cup competition is a challenge too good to resist, leaving the FA to look elsewhere.

 

Think Redknapp is the right man for the job, or reckon there’s someone else to be considered for the hot seat? Drop us a few words on Twitter


 
 
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