Timing, as always, is everything for Schmidt

England’s longest-serving coach gave his employers both barrels at Twickenham, then announced that he was leaving to work with a team in the Premier League.

Three years later his French counterpart gave up running the national team as a bad job and walked the plank, resurfacing in the Elysees Palace as a minister in the Sarkozy government.

When to go, or how long to stay, has often proved beyond even the most enduring of the game’s successful coaches.

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