Harry Redknapp has revealed that Reds boss Brendan Rodgers agreed to be his assistant if he had filled the vacant England post back in 2012…
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers, then at Swansea City, was set to become England’s number two had the top position gone to Harry Redknapp following the resignation of Fabio Capello in February 2012.
That is the claim of Redknapp in his autobiography, Always Managing, which is released on October 10 and currently being serialised by the Daily Mail.
Despite being a strong favourite with bookmakers and fans, the Football Association eventually awarded the post to Roy Hodgson.
“If I had become the England manager I would have taken Brendan Rodgers as my No 2,” writes the current Queens Park Rangers boss who was in charge of Tottenham Hotspur at the time.
“He had players at Swansea passing it like Franz Beckenbauer. You know how his teams are going to play before you kick off. They are going to pass, they are going to take risks; but England do not have that identity.
“Now we have Roy Hodgson who will keep England organised, for sure. I just hope he will also be a little bit bold, open up and try to get England playing the type of football we all want to see.
“Look at Brendan at Liverpool now – he still knows how he wants to play. He got rid of Andy Carroll because he wasn’t in that plan. That is how Spain operate: this is how we play and we don’t compromise.
“My thinking on Brendan was this: if he can do it with players from the lower leagues at Swansea what can he do with Rio and Terry or Rooney and Gerrard?
“So when Tottenham played Swansea on April 1, 2012 I pulled Brendan after the game and said that if all the speculation about me and England was true would he consider coming to the European Championships in the summer as my part-time coach?
“I told him I wanted England to play with as much technical ambition as Swansea. He was up for it.
“If I got the job, he said, he would speak to the people at Swansea to get their permission. ‘It would be a great experience for you, Brendan,’ I told him. ‘I want England to play like you play. Pass the ball, play and play and play.’.”
The 66-year-old is highly critical of the way the FA handled the whole situation and also the way the organisation is run and structured in general.
In the extracts released so far he also makes known that plenty of the country’s top players, including Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard, had given him their backing.
“I wouldn’t trust the FA to show me a good manager if their lives depended on it. How would they know? What clubs have they ever run? Who do they speak to who really knows the game?
“This isn’t about them giving the England job to me or Roy Hodgson, but English football being run by people who really haven’t got a clue. And they get to pick the England manager!
“Everyone said I was the people’s choice, the only choice. All the senior players seemed to be up for me to get the job. I got quite a few text messages at the time from players saying they would love me to manage England: Steven Gerrard, Wayne Rooney, Rio Ferdinand, John Terry.
“But the FA went for Roy Hodgson to be the England manager – a man who is more their cup of tea.”
Harry certainly makes his feelings abundantly clear in the parts that have been made public and I cannot wait to read the whole book when it’s released. Everyone who knows anything about the game has some sort of gripe with the way the FA is run and it goes back decades, often rearing its head when the national team manager position is available; just look at Brian Clough being overlooked for the position on a number of occasions. I was a big advocate of Redknapp getting the job and it is interesting to know that he had gone as far as approaching coaches. In many ways it may have had no implications on Rodgers ending up at Liverpool but then again we will never know! The timing of the book release is intriguing with the Three Lions set for crucial World Cup qualifiers that will determine if we reach Brazil next summer or not.
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