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FA must act on England; COMMENT.

Byline: Mark Douglas

GLENN Hoddle has peered from the depths of the managerial wilderness to make his play for the England job.

It says much about the cack-handed approach of the Football Association in the weeks since Fabio Capello resigned that his candidacy must be taken seriously.

With just 74 days before Euro 2012 kicks off, they are yet to hold discussions with anyone about the vacancy - although Stuart Pearce was given a very public trial last month.

"If I were to die tomorrow, my life would be incomplete," Hoddle said in a well-timed interview yesterday.

"Would I get that opportunity [to manage England again]? Probably not. But I think we have a batch of players capable of going to the Euros and doing well."

The former Tottenham midfielder reckons he deserves a crack on a caretaker basis, and seeks to underline his case with a reminder of two of his finest moments in charge of the national team.

The first was in Rome in England's final qualifier for the 1998 World Cup, when his tactical blueprint confounded an Italy side that were favourites to progress to the finals in France.

Harnessing Paul Gascoigne in a holding midfield role he out Italy-ed Italy, which is no mean feat.

Then there is the way the Three Lions took the game to Argentina in the second round proper with just ten men after David Beckham's sending off.

Again, it was Hoddle at his astute best as England brilliantly adapted to the demands of taking on one of the world's best sides with a man deficit.

But these were feats achieved 14 years ago. Hoddle was last seen flouncing out of the Wolverhampton Wanderers job after being informed that his budget would be cut because he had failed to achieve promotion from the Championship. Hoddle is yesterday's man but he has become a relevant option because the FA are showing no great urgency to plan for tomorrow.

At the unveiling of the Burton centre for football that The Journal was invited to last week, chairman David Bernstein said that the will of the people would be taken into account in the decision on a new manager.

There seemed to be a general consensus that Harry Redknapp remains their choice - even if no approach has been made to Tottenham for his services as yet. Roy Hodgson is an outsider while the continuing progress of Sunderland and Newcastle must bring the claims of Alan Pardew and Martin O'Neill into greater focus.

Not that it really seems to matter because the FA is too busy squirrelled away in its offices drawing up a shortlist that should run to one or two names at most.

Visions of persuading Jose Mourinho to swap Madrid for Wembley are no more than pie in the sky while the FA insiders who leaked the fact that Pep Guardiola's name is under consideration need a serious reality check.

It seems as if the FA doesn't have a firm plan for Euro 2012, which already looks like a bridging tournament. for England.

With no manager and no direction they will surely be found wanting out in Poland and Ukraine, but any hope of even learning from the experience is draining away with every spare minute that the FA dawdles.

Stuart Pearce stands ready to take the reins if his employers leave it too late but that feels like an imperfect solution. He does not feel ready for it on a permanent basis.

Action is required now. Rome is burning while the Bernstein fiddles - and not even Hoddle, that great Italian conqueror of years gone by, can help them this time.


RETURN? Glenn Hoddle after he was sacked from the England job
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Mar 27, 2012
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