Saturday, December 01, 2007

Mourinho for England: Why José would be right to turn down the job...

So Fergie is apparently going advise the FA on who should replace Steve McClaren. Not that Brian Barwick is going to ask me, but my personal view is that the red hot favourite that is José Mourinho would be mad to accept the job when he has the pick of virtually any position he chooses. Here's why.

The England job is a poisoned chalice as every manager since Sir Alf Ramsey has found out to their cost. Apart from perhaps Bobby Robson, none of the former England coaches have left the job with their reputation intact. Following the 1990 World Cup, Bobby Robson eventually went on to manage Barcelona. However, even so the former Ipswich Town boss had was unmercifully hounded by the British press during his tenure as England manager. In 1998 following a draw in a friendly with Saudi Arabia one headline screamed "In the name of Allah, go", there were many other occasions when Robson was hammered by the press - it comes with territory. Ironically while at Sporting Lisbon who he joined in July 1992, Robson worked alongside a Portuguese interpreter by the name of José Mourinho.

Another former England manager Graham Taylor suffered the indignity of having an image of his head artworked into a turnip by the Sun Newspaper. Many will feel that Taylor was the wrong man for the job, but this theory only holds water for those who truly believe that England have been punching below their weight since 1970. Which is questionable at best in my view given the lack of technical skills of English players in general.

The press will have the fans believe that Terry Venables is the messiah, when it comes to tactics and the technical side of the game, but if that was the case Barwick et al would not be consulting a Scotsman about their next appointment. Venables would be the obvious candidate every time, but he is not and rightly so on this occasion.

In weighing up his options Mourinho will take everything into consideration. The former Chelsea manager isn't stupid and he knows that unlike with club football, his hands would be largely tied. He cannot go out and bring in who he likes as you can at club level. Mourinho would not be able to go out and deploy his brand of percentage football when needs must, because England do not have a Didier Drogba.

Not only that the self anointed special one has a hard earned reputation as a winner and perhaps above all else this will be his overriding consideration. Can he actually make a difference by transforming serial losers into winners? If Mourinho comes to the conclusion that, no he cannot, as I expect he will, given the limitations of the job, then he will rightly turn down the FA's huge offer - reported to be a staggering £6m a year.

José Mourinho doesn't the need the FAs cash and while the reported money of offer is ridiculous, this will not be the deciding factor. He would be mad to accept the position is my view. The depth of talent isn't there at present and even Mourinho cannot change that.

IF on the other hand Mourinho's massive ego gets the better of him, then just maybe he can be persuaded to take the job on in the misguided belief that he can succeed where so many others have failed miserably.

IF Mourinho did accept the job offer at least then Barwick and the FA will no doubt feel that they have done as much as they can do in the search for the right man to replace McClaren. That view may well be correct in some ways, but the problems which beset English football go way beyond the appointment of the next manager. Mourinho may well hold that view privately which will be another consideration.

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