• Football

Redknapp lays into the FA

ESPN staff
October 7, 2013
Harry Redknapp has revealed some of England's key players wanted him to become manager © PA Photos

Harry Redknapp has launched a stinging attack on the FA and suggested some of his players were eager to avoid playing for England during his time as Tottenham manager.

Redknapp has also claimed that the England national team "lack an identity", in comments that are likely to spark a widespread debate ahead of the crucial World Cup qualifiers coming up for Roy Hodgson's side in the coming days.

The Queens Park Rangers boss insists his comments have not been made out of frustration from his failure to become England manager following Fabio Capello's departure last year, but he appears to have pulled few punches with his assessment of the men running English football.

"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," he said, in comments published in the Daily Mail.

"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.

"I have no hard feelings towards Roy [Hodgson]. I phoned him to wish him good luck, and I meant it. He has managed some of the biggest clubs in the world.

"I hope England have the confidence to come up with a blueprint before the tournament in Brazil next summer because the last World Cup was a disaster. We should be better. Doesn't everyone think that? I am amazed we have been so poor. For me, it comes down to identity. We don't have any."

Redknapp's comments about his Spurs players wanting to avoid playing for England are likely to cause ripples in the game, as he suggested he abuse they get when turning out for the national team made international call-ups a chore.

"England can sometimes be quite painful to watch, and I know from some of the players that it is not an enjoyable experience for them, either," he continued.

"I've heard a great many wonder about carrying on in international football because they get slaughtered if the result isn't right or they don't play well.

"They leave clubs they love - where everybody is together - go and play for England and find that this faction doesn't like that lot, and after one off-night everybody gets ripped to pieces.

"When I was at Tottenham I had plenty of players who said, 'I don't want to play, pull me out of the squad, I don't want to go.'

"I'm sure it is different with the older players. I can't imagine Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard or Ashley Cole not wanting to turn out for their country, but I've known a lot of younger ones that weren't interested.

"Times have changed. My generation would have given their right arm just to be named in the squad, but the younger ones aren't steeped in that tradition. They can't be bothered."

Redknapp went on to confirm he had lined-up Brendan Rodgers, who was in charge of Swansea at the time, to be his No. 2 in a possible England set-up ahead of last summer's Euro 2012 finals.

The coach now in charge of Liverpool was apparently to be part of the plan that was being put in place by the coach who was viewed as a certainty to land the FA's top job last year.

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