Who will replace Fabio Capello?
After Fabio Capello's surprise resignation as England manager Wednesday, a pack of would-be successors has quickly lined up in front of the Football Association's headquarters to lobby for the job. Or so the bookmakers would have us believe.
Here are the favorites, their current jobs and their odds to get the England job (as of Wednesday afternoon), according to major English betting houses Ladbrokes and William Hill. Some of these names, at least in our view, seem a bit far-fetched, given where some of these managers find themselves in domestic competitions, but here's an overview of what will no doubt be a lively debate in the coming days:
1. Harry Redknapp, Tottenham Hotspur manager -- Ladbrokes: 2-7; William Hill: 4-9
As far as the British press -- not to mention the bookmakers -- is concerned, Redknapp has been all but appointed. He was cleared of tax evasion charges Wednesday morning. Indeed, a few too many factors seem to be lining up for it to be coincidental. The very day the path is cleared for Redknapp -- a successful coach at club level with the requisite Englishness -- to honorably take on the job he's long been in line for, the incumbent coach resigns following a spat over control with the FA.
2. Jose Mourinho, Real Madrid manager -- Ladbrokes: 8-1; William Hill: 10-1
Mourinho made his name as a world-class manager in England with Chelsea and has never made any secret of his interest in the England job. Mourinho even claims he was approached about the England job before Capello was appointed in 2007 and nearly took it. The Special One appears to have outstayed his welcome in Madrid but could be reluctant now that a La Liga title and the breaking of his archrival Barcelona's hegemony is up for grabs.
3. Stuart Pearce, England U-21 manager -- Ladbrokes: 5-1; William Hill: 12-1
Even if his club résumé isn't stellar, Pearce looks to be a good backup choice if other candidates aren't interested. He's been in the FA's employ since taking over as U-21 manager in 2007 and is supposed to lead Great Britain at the London Olympics, too. An unsexy choice if ever there was one, though -- just like one Steve McClaren, Capello's ill-fated predecessor.
4. Roy Hodgson, West Bromwich Albion manager -- Ladbrokes: 8-1; William Hill: 10-1
You won't find a more experienced manager than Hodgson, who is on his 20th managerial job since 1976. He has international experience, having managed Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates, and although he's been at West Brom just a year, he's a bit of a job-hopper. He would have been a favorite to replace Capello if he hadn't been brought back after the World Cup 2010 failure, but after a disastrous stint with Liverpool, Hodgson has slipped down the list of candidates.
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5. Alan Pardew, Newcastle manager -- Ladbrokes: 12-1; William Hill: 14-1
Getting Newcastle to function properly and maintain its attractive style of play is a tough trick to turn, which Pardew has nevertheless pulled off. That said, there is little else that makes him a suitable candidate.
6. Martin O'Neill, Sunderland manager -- Ladbrokes: 16-1; William Hill: 14-1
As a club manager, O'Neill is about as steady as they come, performing consistently with Leicester City, Celtic, Aston Villa and now Sunderland. His lack of exposure to the game at the very highest level would appear to disqualify him from the job, though.
7. Arsene Wenger, Arsenal manager -- Ladbrokes: 20-1; William Hill: 16-1
Few men know the English game better than longtime Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. Yet few have shown so little interest in international management. With Arsenal having rebounded fairly well from an early-season slump, Wenger looks as unlikely as ever to vacate his cushy seat at the Emirates.
8. Guus Hiddink, unemployed -- Ladbrokes: 16-1; William Hill: 16-1
A sensible if unfancied pick, even though he is the only one among the favorites who is actually available at the moment. Hiddink has an impressive track record as national team coach of the Netherlands, South Korea, Australia and Russia, getting teams to consistently punch above their weight. Failures to qualify Russia for World Cup 2010 and Turkey for Euro 2012 have scraped some of the sheen off his résumé in recent years, though.
Leander Schaerlaeckens is a soccer writer for ESPN.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @LeanderESPN.
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