FA: No rush to replace Fabio Capello
WEMBLEY, England -- Even with players already backing Harry Redknapp for the job and the European Championship only four months away, the English Football Association said Thursday it will not rush to hire Fabio Capello's successor as England coach.
Capello, who is Italian, quit Wednesday following a disagreement with FA chairman David Bernstein, who had stripped John Terry of the England captaincy.
"There is clearly a preference for an Englishman," Bernstein said. "There is a preference for an English person or a British person, but in the end we want the best person. Clearly an English or a British person would have a good start of the matter."
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"We can't be driven by that," Bernstein said. "We have to put a proper list together ... We don't want to rush anything. There's no need to rush anything. We'll give it proper consideration and it'll have high priority."
England under-21 coach Stuart Pearce will take charge of England's Feb. 29 exhibition against the Netherlands. England's Euro 2012 opener is June 11 against France.
"Everyone's focus is on Euro 2012, and our objective is to recruit a manager and go to Poland and Ukraine, perform well and achieve success," said Adrian Bevington, managing director of the team.
Redknapp, who has led Tottenham into third place in the Premier League this season, has long spoken of his belief that the next England coach should be English and also that the job is the pinnacle for any Englishman.
"I think we're jumping the gun a little bit here," Keith Mills, a non-executive director at Tottenham, told BBC Radio. "Whether Harry will be approached is not a foregone conclusion. If he is, then Harry has got a big decision to make."
Redknapp, 64, said talk of him taking the England job was premature.
"I haven't even thought about it," Redknapp told Sky Sports News as he arrived at Tottenham's training ground, adding that he was fully focused on continuing the Premier League title push. "We have a big game on Saturday [against Newcastle]."
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Capello, who flew back to Italy on Thursday, thanked his former players in a note and wished them the best for the future, but did not elaborate on his decision to quit.
In a note reported by Italian news agency ANSA, Capello says, "I want to thank the players, the staff and the Football Association for the professionalism they have showed me in my years as national coach."
Two of England's most prominent players posted tweets in support of Redknapp's candidacy.
Rooney said he was "gutted" that Capello quit, then added: "Got to be english to replace him. Harry redknapp for me."
Ferdinand, Rooney's teammate at Manchester United who briefly served as captain under Capello, echoed Rooney's remarks.
"I think we need an English manager now, we don't need anything else lost in translation," Ferdinand wrote on Twitter. "Harry Redknapp would be my choice by a distance."
Coincidentally, it is Ferdinand's brother, Anton, who was at the heart of the chain of events that ultimately led to Capello walking out.
Terry is accused of racially abusing Anton Ferdinand during Chelsea's league game at Queens Park Rangers in October. Capello said Terry should have been allowed to captain the team because Terry's criminal trial is not scheduled until after the European Championships, which run June 8 to July 1.
The FA decided on a more cautious approach, leaving Terry available for selection but removing him as captain. That was not acceptable for Capello, who voiced his opposition on Italian television.
British Prime Minister David Cameron said he was "sorry to see Fabio go" after four years.
"He was a good coach and a good man," Cameron said during a visit to Sweden. "I don't think he was right about the John Terry issue. You can't be captain with that question mark that needs to be answered."
But Cameron would not comment on possible successors.
"The day when the prime minister picks the England coach will be a very bad day for football," he said. "But I am sure we will find someone really good and I am sure that we will play well when the time comes."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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