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FA play down England manager speculation

The Football Association play down latest rounds of speculation about Steve McLaren's successor.

sports Updated: Dec 09, 2007 16:18 IST
Mitch Phillips

The FA reacted to the latest slew of newspaper speculation on the identity of the next England manager on Sunday by insisting that no approach had yet been made to any potential candidate.

Some British Sunday papers carried stories saying the FA had spoken to former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho and that he was in line to replace Steve McClaren, who was sacked last month after England's failure to qualify for Euro 2008.

Others claimed the Portuguese coach, out of work since leaving Chelsea in September, had ruled himself out after receiving a tempting club offer.

FA chief executive Brian Barwick and head of soccer development Trevor Brooking have been charged with making the appointment and FA spokesman Adrian Bevington said they were making progress.

"They've spoken to various leading figures in the game to canvass some opinions. My understanding is that they've concluded that process now and it's a case now of having conversations with individuals," he told BBC radio 5-Live.

"We've been very transparent following the departure of Steve McClaren but there does come a time when we say 'please let us get on with our work privately now'.

"If you picked up the papers last week it was a variety of managers, it was a different story today. I don't want to dissect every story but we are fully on track here. We are making progress, we want to get the manager of the right calibre.

"There is a lot of work going on behind the scenes and if we have spoken to the representatives of one individual it does not mean we are not speaking to others but neither Trevor or Brian have met with any of the potential candidates yet."

England's next match is a Wembley friendly against Switzerland in February and their next competitive fixture will be in September at the start of the 2010 World Cup qualifying campaign.

Mourinho, Fabio Capello, Marcello Lippi, Juergen Klinsmann, Martin O'Neill, Harry Redknapp and Alan Shearer have all been suggested as potential replacements for McClaren but Bevington said no short list had been drawn up.

"I've seen various managers ruled out on TV and in newspapers but I can assure you we have not ruled anybody out, we have an open mind," he said.

"We haven't got a deadline but when we identify the man there is no reason to not go and get him."