Four years after the FA passed over him and opted instead for Roy Hodgson, the erstwhile people’s choice Harry Redknapp has made it clear he would still love to have a crack at the job of England manager.
“Well, you’ve always got confidence in yourself that ‘yeah, I could do it’ but there’s been lots of clever people that tried and haven’t done it,” he said in Dublin yesterday.
“Yeah, it’s a job you take if you had the opportunity, for sure.
“I read people saying the players aren’t as good as we think they are but I’m the exact opposite: They’re every bit as good as I think they are. I look at our players and I still wouldn’t swap them for any other squad.
“We’ve had outstanding managers — (Fabio) Capello wasn’t a fool, his record told you that.
“Roy’s a good manager. But whoever’s took the team, same old story: We get to the tournament, qualify no problem, soon as we come under a bit of pressure, we don’t perform.
“It wasn’t just the Iceland game. We couldn’t beat Slovakia and that was the worst Russian team in history. They wouldn’t get out of the Championship, that Russian team.”
So what’s ‘Arry’s solution?
“We’ve got to find a way of playing, first and foremost, we’ve got to find a system that we’re going to play to.
“We went into this competition and no-one really knew how we were going to play.
“Are we going to play 4-3-3? 4-4-2? It was a guessing game.
“The team didn’t pick itself and the system didn’t even pick itself. That is always a problem.
“And I think there’s got to be a way of taking the pressure off the players. Something happens to them when they get into a pressure situation.
“We walk through the qualifying group but as soon as it comes to the crunch of a real knockout game, we’re gone. Maybe they need to find a way of relaxing. Even silly things.
“Build a bit more team spirit, give them a bit of down time and not put them under so much scrutiny.
“To play football, you can’t go out uptight every time you play. And that’s what we seem to be doing.”
Redknapp cites the Euro 96 host team managed by Terry Venables and featuring Paul Gascoigne at his best on the pitch and most uproarious off it, as possessing the right kind of spirit to handle a big tournament.
“Definitely. Terry had a personality, didn’t he? Terry was fantastic. He had a way with him, he’d have a laugh with them, he was one of the lads, one of the chaps.
“And it was non-stop with Gazza, wasn’t it? He took the pressure off. At 3am, Gazza would wake them up for a table tennis competition, go and bang on their doors and get ‘em out of bed and all that.
“You can’t imagine them having a lot of fun now, can you?”
On his own availability for the position, Redknapp said that while he would be happy to take on the role of manager he would also be open to working in an advisory capacity with a younger man.
“I would love to get involved, if it happened,” he reiterated.
“As a manager, or working with a young manager. There are lots of good young guys out there and you have to bring these people in.
“I brought Tim Sherwood in when I was at Tottenham. I had come across Tim as a player at Portsmouth, he had something to offer and he wasn’t involved in football at all.
“The likes of Rio Ferdinand, Frank Lampard, Alan Shearer, Steven Gerrard — there’s lots of them about.”
In 2012, although he’d been acquitted of tax evasion charges just hours before the resignation of Fabio Capello, the FA subsequently opted not to offer the top job to the then Spurs boss.
And while Redknapp had only recently suggested that he wasn’t expecting a call from the FA any time soon, speaking yesterday at the launch of the new broadcasting player eir Sport, he was sounding a rather more optimistic note.
“I’m not saying they won’t, they might do,” he said.
“It’s a clean slate I think (but) I’ve not heard anything.”
And if not the England job, then what next for the 69-year-old Harry Redknapp?
“Get my handicap down to scratch,” he chuckled. “I’ve got to drop 15 shots from somewhere.”
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