Football - Houghton: Herdman could be perfect fit

Defender Steph Houghton believes her fellow high-achieving Geordie John Herdman could be an ideal fit as the new England manager.

PA Sport
Football - Houghton: Herdman could be perfect fit

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John Herdman has indicated that he would listen to any offer to boss England

The Football Association has said it will search far and wide to find the ideal candidate to lead the women's team into the upcoming 2015 World Cup qualifying mission.

It is that tournament itself that could present a stumbling block if the FA targets Herdman as successor to Hope Powell, given he is currently employed as head coach of Canada, the next World Cup hosts and London 2012 bronze medallists.

The appeal of leading a team into a home World Cup may shape Herdman's thinking, but the 38-year-old from County Durham, a lifelong Newcastle United fan, has also confirmed he would listen to any offer to boss England.

England Under-19 boss Mo Marley is another possible contender, and Houghton is reluctant to favour any candidate over another.

But when the name of Herdman was raised, she smiled as she told Press Association Sport: "He's a Geordie boy as well!

"There's a few names that have been thrown into the mix but I'm sure the FA will take their time in picking the successor. As a group of players we're just looking forward to seeing who that is.

"We've encountered John when he's been manager of Canada and New Zealand, and at the Olympics. He's achieved a lot, bronze with Canada at the Olympics, so we'll just wait and see."

Houghton, 25, sprang to nationwide fame as a goalscoring left-back for Great Britain during last year's Olympic Games, and has 38 England caps with hopefully many more to come.

Captain of Arsenal Ladies, who reached the UEFA Champions League semi-finals this year, she played at Euro 2013 where England fell in the group stage, picking up just one point from three games.

Following that disappointing performance, Powell was sacked on Tuesday by the FA.

"From a personal point of view I'm rather sad and a bit gutted that Hope's gone," Houghton said. "She's been brilliant for me and my career from the age of 14, 15.

"Whoever comes in, it is a fresh start and a new challenge, and we must all try to thrive on that and do the best we can to go and qualify for Canada 2015."

Sue Smith, who has won 93 England caps and plays for Doncaster Rovers Belles, is hoping the FA manage to attract Herdman.

"If you're an Englishman and you're asked to be England manager surely that's a massive pull," Smith said.

"But the fact that he's Canada manager at the moment and the World Cup is there in two years, you wonder what he's going to do.

"They say he's a very motivating type of coach, and it sounds like he would fit in well to the English game. It would be nice to get him."

Smith, 33, is familiar to television audiences as a BBC pundit on the women's game, and has been linked with the England job herself.

"I can't imagine that," Smith said. "We'd be like a Kevin Keegan-style team, winning games 5-4, so no, definitely not."

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