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International Rationale

Wrong?

Following Fabio Capello’s resignation on Wednesday as England manager, the predictable questions sprang to mind: Who would succeed the Italian and what effect would this have on England’s Euro 2012 campaign?

In answering the first question, it seems that the majority would prefer Harry Redknapp as his successor. The fact there has been a longing for an Englishman to be at the helm for the last 3 years coupled with the Tottenham manager’s magnificent record at White Hart Lane, make him the people’s choice.

England’s success in Euro 2012 depends on the players who are available as well as the English FA appointing the man best suited to the job, regardless of his nationality.

However, will the FA be forced to consider an Englishman as a pre-requisite in their search for a new manager or will they opt for the best possible option as previously mentioned?

Realistically they will opt for the former, mainly to appease the supporters before an important international tournament like Euro 2012.

This though, begs a question which applies to the footballing world in general – Is a home-grown manager better suited to leading his nation than a foreign manager?

There are cases for both.

For England, Fabio Capello is statistically their best manager going by his win ratio – which is at 66% over 42 games.

However, the manager only led the England team at one international tournament where they failed to make it to the quarter finals.

Undoubtedly Capello failed to deal with off-field problems as well as an experienced manager should have, letting captaincy issues force him into an early exit.

The manager did however; qualify for two major tournaments while ushering in a new generation of English youth players creating a realistic sense of optimism before the Euro Championships in the summer.

There have been examples of foreign managers succeeding with national sides out with their native country.

South Korea in 2002 managed to reach the World Cup semi-finals under Guus Hiddink, with the Dutchman also leading Australia to their first World Cup in 32 years and Russia to the semi-finals in Euro 2008.

The similarly successful German national Otto Rehhagel led Greece to their greatest footballing success in 2004 when they lifted the European Championship in a surprise victory.

Greece defeated Portugal in the final of that tournament, a side led by Brazilian Luiz Felipe Scolari. This was Portugal’s only appearance in a major international final – the best performance in their history.

All were relative successes in their own right and led by a foreign manager, the countries achieved unparalleled results in their recent history.

Despite this success though, there is more reason to believe that foreign managers aren’t the way forward for international sides.

As mentioned, Capello failed to achieve any tangible success with England similar to the performance of Sven-Goran Eriksson years before him.

England’s greatest ever achievement was under the leadership of Alf Ramsay, when they won the 1966 World Cup in front of their own home support.

Furthermore, no teams have reached the final of any World Cup with a foreign manager since.

Vicente Del Bosque most recently led Spain to the World Cup in 2010, with Luis Aragones managing his countrymen to the 2008 Euro Championships.

Otto Rehhagel’s Euro 2004 win for Greece was the only exception – of a national team winning a major international tournament without a countryman leading the team – in the last 30 years.

These examples of triumph under native managers, lead to the conclusion that a foreign coach is not necessarily the best option when considering who the Football Association want to lead their team.

Looking to the future – in England’s case – Wayne Rooney highlighted Harry Redknapp as his choice to lead the national side. The striker stating ‘Got to be English to replace him (Capello), Harry Redknapp for me’.

There is no conclusive formula to implement when the search begins for a new international manager.

Ultimately, it should come down to who is the best available option but there is plenty of evidence to show that employing a man born in the same country as the players will reap the greatest rewards.

Culturally, the manager will understand the players as well as being able to immediately express his philosophy and ideas to the side in their own language.

Although a definitive rule would be unrealistic to expect, Football Associations should begin to move forward with the rational objective of producing home-grown managers who have the ability to lead their national team at major international tournaments.

A stadium full of English fans supporting a team of English players led by an English manager is surely the recipe for success, and the English FA – as well as any other FA looking to appoint a new manager – should make use of said recipe if they are to achieve anything as a football nation.

What’s your opinion? Get in touch through twitter – @beanroll or in the comment box below. Thanks for reading!

Right?

Team GB.

Team GB?

Upon the appointment of Stuart Pearce as manager of Team GB, the selection of players from all the home nations remains a huge talking point with only a year before the Olympics get underway.

I’m not going into this job looking only to select English players. If at all possible, it should be made up of all the home nations.” Certainly from Pearce’s point of view he is looking to select players from not only England, but the rest of Great Britain. A stance not necessarily reciprocated by the Scottish, Welsh and Irish FA but one which will not go unnoticed at their relevant HQ’s.

The concept of a Team GB entering the London Olympics in 2012 was one which generated much talk and excitement, but at the same time showed a clear lack of solidarity between Great Britain on a footballing front.

With the Scottish and Welsh FA both feeling it could compromise their position as an independent nation, it is understandable that their players have kept quiet over the issue.

However, the statement of intent given by Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsay over their participation in the event could pave the way for many more high profile players to make themselves available for selection.

At the moment Wales haven’t qualified for a major tournament in I don’t know how many years so it would be nice to play in one against the best countries in the world.” Bale obviously has the intention of being involved, and despite being a hugely important player for both club and country, he has now put himself in the forefront of both Pearce and the WFA’s mind.

So what position are Scottish players in?

Well the SFA have reiterated their opposition to the idea which is most important in this situation.

The Scottish Football Association represents the biggest threat to the plans of Team GB, with the chances of their opinion unlikely to change.

However, they have no right to block any call ups by the GB Olympic Team to any of their players and the decision will rest solely with the player and his club.

Also, the European Championships in 2012 have to be taken into account when any players are selected, being the second most important international footballing event on the calendar.

Again however, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have been unable to qualify for this event so effectively all their players would have the ‘summer off’ and therefore be available.

Undoubtedly, the quality which could be brought together by a Team GB side could amount to a Olympic glory.

As Pearce has already stated he will not only select players from England, so there is a huge opportunity for players from the home nations to sample the biggest sporting event in the world, adding to their experience.

The question is who would be good enough to represent Team GB?

From an English perspective, despite the recent decline in quality from their youth teams, they still have an array of talent to pick from for this event.

With Pearce also the Under 21 manager, there is no one better suited to picking the best young talent they have.

The squad will be made up of 18 players who all must be born either on, or after, 1 January 1989 – but three players over this age can also be selected in the side.

This then paves the way for players such as Darren Fletcher, Ryan Giggs, David Beckham, Craig Bellamy and Steven Davis to be drafted in to add experience to the squad.

Fletcher is arguably the best Scottish player, but after the encouraging Euro 2012 qualifying campaign, players such as Barry Bannan, David Goodwillie and Danny Wilson could all push for a place in the squad.

Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsay are without a doubt the best of a golden generation of Wales players and would be certain of a call-up.

Northern Ireland’s opposition to the Team GB could be seen as redundant by 2012, with the country having no real top-class players capable of making the squad.

Pearce’s position could be seen as an enviable one, but at the same time one which carries a lot of baggage.

With near free-reign on the best young talent in the UK, he must fight against the politics of the Football Associations to ensure he selects the best Team GB possible.

As a Scottish Fan who has only witnessed his country at an international tournament once, I would have no qualms with players such as Bannan, Goodwillie, Wilson or even Fletcher getting a call-up for the GB side.

As long as FIFA stick to their view that all the home nations will remain independent for the rest of the international events, then the Olympics participation will do nothing but galvanise the UK.

So, if I was Stuart Pearce and the tournament was next week, this would be my selection for Team GB.

     Allan McGregor (+21)

Chris Smalling                    Phil Jones                                            Danny Wilson                    Kyle Walker

 Jack Wilshere

    Aaron Ramsay                                   Tom Cleverley

Ryan Giggs(+21)                                     Danny Wellbeck                                  Daniel Sturridge

Subs – Oxlade-Chamberlain, Bannan, Steven Davis(+21), Ross Barkley, Goodwillie, Rodwell, Fielding.

THINK YOU COULD DO BETTER? Get a bit of discussion and give me your Team GB below.