HARRY REDKNAPP WISHES HODGSON WELL
Harry Redknapp insists he holds no grudges against Roy Hodgson, even though the West Brom boss is set to inherit the England role he craved.
The Football Association stunned most observers when they went against public opinion on Sunday night and confirmed they had made an approach for Hodgson to replace Fabio Capello.
Redknapp had been the overwhelming favourite, but despite winning the FA Cup at Portsmouth and taking Tottenham into the Champions League, it seems he is not what the FA were looking for.
"I don't hold grudges, I don't feel like that," said Redknapp. "There's no problem. If Roy takes the job I wish him all the best. He's a great guy. I'm sure he'll be a big success.
"I still think England's got some great players, I really do. I think there's some fantastic players in this country, some young players coming through, some great experienced players.
"I'm looking forward to the European Championships, looking forward to watching it.
"Life couldn't be better, the sun's shining, my health is good, very lucky man."
The latest developments mark the beginning of an end to a tortuous few weeks since Capello announced his resignation on February 8.
It is anticipated Hodgson will speak to the four-man FA board on Monday and his appointment will be confirmed within the next 48 hours, which would allow him to announce England's Euro 2012 squad on May 10, as indicated by Stuart Pearce last week.
"I suppose it's dragged on, but it's no problem," said Redknapp.
Redknapp's plight has been compared to Brian Clough by some observers. Clough did not get the England job either when he was overlooked in favour of Ron Greenwood, which in retrospect looks like a huge mistake.
However, England fans' spokesman Mark Perryman does not believe the link is valid.
"It is a ridiculous comparison," said Perryman.
"Harry Redknapp has been a manager for 30 years and won one FA Cup.
"Brian Clough won two European Cups and lots of other trophies besides.
"To link the two doesn't stand up at all. Clough was the greatest manager never to manage England. Harry is the populist choice, but so was Kevin Keegan and what an unmitigated disaster that turned out to be.
"Roy Hodgson will be a steady hand on the tiller.
"He took Fulham to the Europa League final, which was a magnificent achievement and on the basis that the best three managers around just now, Marcelo Bielsa, Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho, wouldn't want the job, Hodgson is a good choice."
Providing there are no unforeseen problems, Hodgson will complete the Premier League season with West Brom before taking up his duties ahead of two Euro 2012 warm-up matches against Norway on May 26 and Belgium on June 2.
He certainly has plenty in his favour, including an impressive CV that boasts international experience with Switzerland, Finland and the United Arab Emirates.
As his West Brom contract is due to expire in the summer anyway, he would not cost any compensation either.
The fact Hodgson does not operate with a long-standing backroom team, unlike Redknapp, is also a plus and his present base in Solihull makes it a far easier commute to the FA's impressive new coaching hub at St George's Park in Burton - unlike Redknapp, who has always preferred to remain on the south coast.
"It didn't surprise me," said Bolton manager Owen Coyle, whose side face Tottenham on Wednesday and West Brom on Sunday.
"I always felt it was between the two of them. There was the clamour for Harry and we all understand why.
"But it didn't surprise me that they then tried to approach Roy.
"I am absolutely thrilled. If Roy decides to take the job, there is no doubt he ticks every box in terms of what England are looking for.
"He has a proven track record and international experience. Obviously people made a lot of Harry being the favourite, and I think you have two outstanding candidates there. If it is an English manager you are looking for, then those are the two you certainly would have been looking to choose between.
"Harry was always going to be a difficult one because of the compensation involved, but Roy is a terrific manager, someone I have a lot of time for, and I have no doubts he can bring real success to the England national team."
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