Football Association chairman Greg Dyke is open to the idea of a foreigner succeeding head coach Roy Hodgson – as long as the manager in question has a deep understanding of the English game.
Dyke confirmed earlier this summer that Hodgson would remain Three Lions boss until his contract expires at the end of Euro 2016.
Dyke says the FA board have not considered whether they should extend Hodgson’s deal beyond that tournament and the England manager claims he has given it little thought himself.
“My four-year plan is to stay alive,” Hodgson quipped last week at a press conference at Wembley.
Should the FA decide to opt for a change after Euro 2016, which is likely given that Hodgson will be nearing his 69th birthday then, a foreign manager could be considered.
The FA were criticised for appointing Fabio Capello and Sven Goran Eriksson before Hodgson’s tenure.
But Dyke is refusing to rule out possibly going down the same road again.
“They wouldn’t necessarily have to be English but they certainly would have to understand English football,” Dyke said at an FA grass roots event in Lowestoft.
“You wouldn’t rule out someone who is a Scot or Welsh or French, but they would have to understand English football.”
The mention of a Frenchman from Dyke is interesting given that Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was reported to have been considered as a possible candidate for the England job in the past.
Still, Dyke is not in a hurry to start considering who should take the post and when.
“We haven’t thought that far ahead,” Dyke said.
Hodgson restored some faith to the nation’s football fans by guiding England to an impressive 2-0 win over Switzerland in their opening Euro 2016 qualifier last month.
Hodgson’s squad met for the first time since that victory yesterday as they started preparations for this week’s qualifiers against San Marino and Estonia.
All 21 players, including Arsenal defender Calum Chambers, who has replaced injured former Barnsley defender John Stones, reported for duty yesterday at St George’s Park, where the squad was due to undertake a light training session.
Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge’s absence means Arsenal’s Danny Welbeck will be given another chance to lead the line after his fine brace against the Swiss.
Captain Wayne Rooney will be eager to make an impression given that he is currently sidelined from action with Manchester United because of a three-match ban.
Rooney will join Jimmy Greaves as England’s third highest goalscorer of all time if he finds the net on three more occasions over the next week.
“I hope he does (reach Greaves’s landmark). I want him to score as many goals as possible,” said Hodgson of Rooney, who is eight short of Sir Bobby Charlton’s all-time record.
“It’s not all about goals. It’s all about victories. It will be good for his confidence though. Goals are goals.”
Despite concerns about a low turn-out, it is understood that around 50,000 fans are expected to be at Thursday’s match against San Marino – around 10,000 more than attended the September friendly against Norway.
England will then take on Estonia in Tallinn on Sunday.
Around 15,000 fans are expected to attend England’s Under-21 play-off against Croatia at Molineux on Friday.
Under-21 coach Gareth Southgate has revealed England have not given up hope of tempting Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish away from the Republic of Ireland.
Birmingham-born Grealish is preparing for Ireland Under-21s’ friendly in Norway on Thursday.
He has been playing for Ireland since he was 14 but is yet to decide on his senior future and Southgate hopes it is with England.
“The family and Jack are aware of our interest,” he said.
“Jack is somebody we have spoken to over the years, him and his family. He has been in our younger development teams.
“Up to this point they have preferred to remain with Ireland. These things are quite fluid at younger ages.” He added: “You are allowed to switch once when you are a young player and Jack is someone we are monitoring and we’ll keep our eye on that situation.”