Friday, 23 November 2007

Capello wants England job, Lippi plays it down

Italian coaches Fabio Capello and Marcello Lippi are being linked with the vacant England manager's hot seat.

The English Football Association sacked Steve McClaren, who took over from Sven-Goran Eriksson last year, on Thursday as he failed to reach the Euro 2008 finals following a disastrous qualification campaign that came to an end after Wednesday's 3-2 defeat at home to Croatia.

The search for a new boss has already started and Capello is one of the early front-runners, while Lippi has yet to completely dismiss his chances.

Capello made his interest in the job clear on Wednesday night while commentating on Italy’s win over the Faroe Islands. "Me as England boss? It would be a beautiful challenge. I am the right age too," he told Rai Uno.

The 61-year old, who has been working for Italian television since he was sacked at Real Madrid in the summer despite leading them to the Spanish title, has won the League titles at all of the clubs he's worked for.

He achieved four Serie A titles and the UEFA Champions League trophy with AC Milan, a Scudetto with Roma and two with Juventus. He also won the La Liga title with Madrid in an earlier stint in Spain.

Italy's World Cup-winning coach Lippi revealed he has not been contacted by the English FA, but he doesn't think he'll be a contender to succeed McClaren because of his lack of English.

"I have not received any telephone calls," admitted Lippi in today's La Gazzetta dello Sport. "But if it happens we will see. I don't think it will happen because I have always turned down English offers."

Lippi, who has been taking a sabbatical since guiding the Azzurri to World Cup glory last year, has turned down several offers from English club sides since. The latest came earlier this week as Birmingham City announced that Lippi had rejected an offer to guide them.

The former Juventus boss, who won the Serie A title five times and the European Cup with the Bianconeri, admitted the chances of him coaching in England are slim because of the language barrier.

"I love the Premier League but I don't speak English," he said. "Considering the way I see and experience football this is a big handicap, because a coach above all guides players and my primary concept is the squad."

The English FA have time on their hands to appoint a new coach, as England's next scheduled match is a friendly against France in Paris on 26 March 2008, although there is a date available in February to arrange another fixture if required.

The next competitive match will be the opening encounter of the 2010 World Cup qualifying campaign in September 2008.

Former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho, Aston Villa's Martin O'Neill, Portsmouth's Harry Redknapp, Portugal's Luiz Felipe Scolari and Russia's Guus Hiddink are the other options being linked with the vacancy.

Source: C4 Football Italia / La Gazzetta dello Sport / BBC

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