Early Doors

Mick McCarthy: England manager

Early Doors

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'Big' Mick McCarthy mid-fist pump

Call off the search, for he has been found.

When facing the press after Fabio Capello resigned from the England job last week, the FA bigwigs were at pains to state they would cast their net wide in search of a replacement.

The men at the very top of the English game said they would not rush in finding a man to fill the vacancy, and bought themselves some time by putting Stuart Pearce in charge for the Holland game at the end of the month.

But there is no need for that, or to kick off a long, drawn-out and expensive process involving City headhunters - the sort of thing which led to Capello's £6 million-a-year contract. The big man they need to fill the role is available now and right under their nose.

With Wolves taking the decision yesterday to sack Mick McCarthy after almost six years at Molineux, the FA should voluntarily allow themselves to be Mick-rolled. Big Mick is surely the man for the Big Job.

McCarthy has had his backside taken off the bacon slicer having left Wolves with  slightly fewer points but being higher up the table than they were 12 months ago, despite the run of seven straight defeats culminating in their 5-1 drubbing at home to local rivals West Brom that did for him. As such, he is available to walk into Wembley and start work today.

With no managerial vacancies in the Premier League for him to apply for, McCarthy's only other option for spending his newfound free time would be to help promote the new Muppets movie as a human incarnation of Sam the Eagle.

Of course McCarthy is not going to get the England job, or be anywhere near the running. But when the widely held belief is that the FA are operating with a shortlist of one, it's worth at least looking around at who else they could get.

For, on paper at least, the 53-year-old has all the attributes to do the impossible job.

For one thing, he's managed at a major international tournament before - something which could not have been said of Capello before the last World Cup, or his supposed heir apparent Harry Redknapp - and he did rather well. Republic of Ireland reached the second round of the 2002 World Cup, where they lost to Spain on penalties. They reached that stage after going through their group unbeaten, thanks in part to a 1-1 draw with eventual finalists Germany.

That success in Japan and Korea was achieved despite the insurrection of captain Roy Keane, who stormed out of the squad's Saipan base on the eve of the tournament on an expletive-laden huff.

It would almost be worth John Terry being reinstated as England captain just to see how McCarthy would deal with the defender attempting another player rebellion on his watch. After all, this is the man who was inspired to sign Roger Johnson and make him his captain this summer after having a blazing row with him on the touchline while the defender was a Birmingham City player.

A row between McCarthy and Terry would only have one winner, and it would surely inspire a sell-out run of a new comedy musical: I, JT.

FA chief David Bernstein said that "there is a preference for an English person or a British person, but in the end we want the best person" to fill the role. With the Barnsley-born former Ireland international they can cover both bases by employing a man who is simultaneously English and foreign.

The straight-talking Yorkshireman would have no problems communicating with his player as Capello did, even if he is capable of a baffling turn of phrase every now and again. He would not be shy in forthcoming with either praise or criticism when it needed to be dished out. Which - let's face it - would be quite often when it comes to the England team.

Just like Redknapp, Mick has plenty of down-to-earth homespun charm which always goes down a treat in press conferences and with the fans. That, combined with his regular work as a pundit down the years means he has a great relationship with the press that would at least keep the Wolves from the door for a little while longer than most England bosses would be able to manage.

His Wolves team may not have been the Premier League's version of the Harlem Globetrotters, but then England will never be that on the international stage either. What he did at Molineux was get the most out of an industrious group of players, many of whom had come up from the Championship with him. They may be one of the sides in the top flight most wanting when it comes to technique, but most teams know they have been in a game after they have played Wolves.

McCarthy main strength seems to lie to in being able to get players motivated and working for each other, something which England have been repeatedly guilty of not doing when it comes to tournament campaigns.

Being a less illustrious name than either Capello or Redknapp, and with no club to which any compensation would be due, McCarthy would also be an infinitely cheaper option. At least it would stop all the tiresome complaints about how much the England manager earns, as though he was being paid out of the public purse.

He may not come anywhere close to being England manager, not now or ever, but if nothing else Early Doors hopes this has at least served to highlight the qualities he brought to Wolves, and which they are now missing as they look for a new manager ahead of a tough battle against relegation.

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FINANCIAL MELTDOWN CORNER: It has finally happened: Rangers have requested to go into administration. The reigning, 54-times Scottish champions are mired in debt as they prepare to learn their fate regarding an unpaid tax bill of more than £50 million.

Not to be outdone, Portsmouth took the same course of action yesterday. It will be the second time they have gone into administration in two years.

As if that wasn't bad enough, both the clubs' respective big rivals are doing rather well. Celtic announced yesterday that they have reduced their debt to a little more than £7m, while Southampton are still on course for automatic promotion back up to the Premier League.

FOREIGN VIEW: "He is selfish like so many others. His reaction alone to when he has a good effort or scores a goal; he does not run towards the player who set him up to score, but instead he runs towards his family in the stands. He lets the team run after him. At some point the team-mate will say 'if you are not going to recognise my pass then next time you can come and get the ball yourself'." - Bayern Munich chief Franz Beckenbauer lays into Arjen Robben.

COMING UP: European football is back with a bang this evening as both the Champions League and Europa League emerge from their winter slumber. We will have live coverage of Bayer Leverkusen v Barcelona (19:45), Lyon v APOEL Nicosia (19:45) and Braga v Olympiacos (17:30) for your pleasure, as well as updates from each and every one of this evening's games in the Championship.

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