The surprising news that Fabio Capello has resigned as the coach of England’s soccer team has caused quite the uproar overseas – now those passionate fans want to know who will replace Capello with Euro 2012 just four months off. The leading contender is Tottenham coach Harry Redknapp.
Capello’s resignation was accepted late yesterday by executives from the Football Association hours after Redknapp, the English bookmakers’ favorite to replace him, was cleared of tax evasion in a trial in London. Capello left after the F.A. removed John Terry as team captain without consulting him.
Terry, a Chelsea defender, faces criminal charges of racially abusing Anton Ferdinand of Queens Park Rangers in a Premier League match in October. The delay of his hearing until after June’s European Championship prompted the F.A.’s move.
Redknapp escaped a possible jail term when a jury decided his use of a Monaco bank to keep $295,000 paid to him by Sheffield Wednesday owner Milan Mandaric when they were both at Portsmouth didn’t amount to tax evasion.
Former England captain Rio Ferdinand has joined current star Wayne Rooney in backing the Tottenham Hotspur boss to take over at the head of the national side. But Redknapp has told “I’ve not even thought about it. I’ve got a big game Saturday with Tottenham.”
Manchester United defender Ferdinand, who played under Redknapp at West Ham, wrote on Twitter: “I think we need an English manager now, we don’t need anything else lost in translation… Harry Redknapp would be my choice by a distance.”
Rooney wrote on Twitter: “Gutted Capello has quit. Good guy and top coach. Got to be English to replace him. Harry Redknapp for me.”
Although Capello was known to be frustrated by the F.A.’s move, the Italian’s decision to walk away caught many, including Redknapp, by surprise.
Redknapp said: “I was shocked. I was surprised. I didn’t expect that to happen. We knew he was going to leave in the summer. I didn’t expect it to happen now.”
Redknapp has been in charge at Tottenham since October 2008, when he took over a team sitting bottom of the Premier League. He soon lifted the team clear of danger and has since led them to a Champions League quarter-final, while they are involved in the Premier League title battle this season.