By Greg Stobart | UK Correspondent
Harry Redknapp may have problems reading and writing, but he is intelligent enough to have immediately realised the implications of the Football Association’s decision to approach Roy Hodgson for the vacant England job.
The Tottenham manager will wake up on Tuesday accepting that he will never get his “dream” role of managing the Three Lions, a position for which he was the popular choice from the day Fabio Capello resigned on February 8. He will be shocked and dismayed to not even be invited for interview, with Hodgson the only candidate approached and likely to be named as the new England manager in the next week.
It leaves Redknapp scratching his head and asking questions, not least why the FA let the speculation hang over White Hart Lane for two months when West Brom have been safe for a while and a move for Hodgson could have been made weeks ago.
But the Spurs boss needs to refocus and concentrate on more pressing matters if he is to avoid an even more surprising change of circumstances. In essence, he has three matches to save his existing job.
A man never shy of a soundbite, it is ironic that Redknapp first first found out about the approach for Hodgson through one of his favoured media outlets as he drove to dinner with Spurs assistant manager Kevin Bond.
Redknapp will get the chance to address the England issue with the media at his press conference on Tuesday to preview Tottenham’s game against Bolton, but the signs are that he has already started to panic that he could find himself unemployed in the summer.
He told The Sun: "Good luck to Roy. I can see my future at Tottenham and I would like to stay. But that is down to the chairman."
That means that Spurs chairman Daniel Levy will now have to think about what he wants. The fact is that Spurs expected Redknapp to leave and were making contingency plans with Swansea boss Brendan Rodgers in pole position for the job. Those plans have looked increasingly attractive in recent weeks and now Redknapp needs to show that he is the best man to take the club forward.
For all Redknapp’s denials, the England speculation affected him and his players. The Londoners have watched Arsenal overcome a 13-point gap with a run of just three wins in 11 Premier League matches since Capello stepped down over the John Terry saga.
The performances have been poor, Redknapp has been distracted and the Tottenham supporters have started to turn against the 65-year-old, in no small part due to his perceived lack of commitment to the club.
Without doubt, Redknapp's stock has fallen. Plans to offer him a four-year contract worth £16 million have been put on ice during Spurs’ capitulation since Capello’s resignation.
Yet, although Tottenham have been in relegation form, they are still within sight of a top four finish, their target at the start of the season. Sunday’s 2-0 win over Blackburn leaves them in fourth spot with three games to play against Bolton, Aston Villa and Fulham.
Should Spurs finish fourth, they will still require a favour from Bayern Munich if they are to play in the Champions League next season. The German side face Chelsea in the final of Europe’s elite competition at the Allianz Arena on May 19 and a victory for the Blues would see them qualify at the expense of England's fourth-placed team.
Tottenham’s disastrous form may well be one of the reasons for the FA’s decision to overlook him but, clearly, he was never as popular with the four-man selection panel as with the public or the media.
A major concern for FA chairman David Bernstein would have been the finances involved. It would have cost £10m to release Redknapp from his Spurs contract and he would have demanded a higher salary than Hodgson, whose West Brom deal expires at the end of June and will require barely any compensation.
Another factor that will have counted against Redknapp is that Trevor Brooking, the only ‘football man’ on the Club England management team, is believed to have favoured Hodgson from the very start of the recruitment process.
The 63-year-old has a difficult relationship with the former Portsmouth manager dating back to a rift at West Ham in 1994 when Redknapp took over from Brooking’s former team-mate Billy Bonds.
Brooking, no doubt, would have pointed out that Redknapp has won just one trophy in his career and has no experience at international level, while Hodgson has managed three countries and taken teams to tournaments.
Hodgson will also share the FA’s commitment to a long-term project based around the national football centre at St George’s Park whilst Redknapp may have been regarded as a man whose focus would solely be on the first-team squad.
Indeed, that would have been a fair assumption given it is one of the major misgivings of the Tottenham hierarchy as the north London club themselves prepare to move in to a state-of-the-art £40m training centre this summer.
Now, after flirting with England for several years, Redknapp needs to re-focus on the job at hand and prove he is the man to take Spurs forward next season and over the coming years.
The last two months will have taught Redknapp something even he may not have known about the fickleness of supporters and administrators alike in football. Three wins could get his Tottenham career back on track as he looks to overcome a crushing disappointment.
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