Fabio Capello moved closer to becoming the new manager of the England national team tonight after he held talks with the English Football Association in London.
Capello met FA chief executive Brian Barwick and director of football Sir Trevor Brooking, before flying back to Italy. He was accompanied by his advisor Giovanni Branchini and Pierfilippo Capello, his agent and son.
"I am pleased to say that these discussions were extremely positive and without any problems," FA spokesman Adrian Bevington said in a statement. "Fabio Capello has now returned to Italy to honour a commitment. Understandably further talks are now taking place between Fabio Capello's advisors and ourselves."
The 61-year-old Italian has emerged as favourite to succeed Steve McClaren following Jose Mourinho's decision to rule himself out of contention.
McClaren was sacked last month after England's 3-2 defeat against Croatia at Wembley Stadium meant they failed to qualify for the UEFA Euro 2008 finals next summer.
Capello fits the FA bill to have a "world-class" coach as the new England manager.
In 16 years as a coach at AC Milan, Roma, Juventus and Real Madrid, Capello has won nine league titles and a Champions League crown. He picked up silverware with all four clubs, including the European Cup with his first club Milan in 1994.
Giancarlo Galavotti, London correspondent for La Gazzetta dello Sport, compares Capello to Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson.
"I would say he is a Sir Alex Ferguson sort of character," said Galavotti. "He is very much his own man, very much wants to win and if winning means to set aside players or even staff who have been with him for many years he will do that because he has got only one aim and that is to win.
"I would say that his credentials are incredible. If the class of Fabio Capello fails then it is very worrying for the England national team."
Former Chelsea star and Italy Under-21 assistant Gianfranco Zola, who has been linked with a job in the backroom staff, has voiced his support for Capello, saying he "possesses the ideal pedigree to create a new era of success for England".
Source: AP / BBC