February 09, 2012

LONDON (Reuters) -- Stuart Pearce will manage England for this month's friendly against Netherlands while they search for a permanent successor to Fabio Capello, FA chairman David Bernstein told a news conference on Thursday.

Italian Capello resigned on Wednesday in the wake of a row over deposed England captain John Terry, leaving the national team without a manager four months before the start of Euro 2012.

England Under-21 and British Olympic team coach Pearce will lead the team when they host Netherlands at Wembley on Feb. 29 as they continue preparations for the European Championship in Poland and Ukraine.

"He has huge experience inside and outside this organisation ... he knows the players very well," Bernstein said. "I have great confidence in Stuart, we will be in good hands.

"Our priority then will be to appoint a new England manager ... with a total focus on getting the best person in place as soon as we sensibly can.

"We don't want to rush the process, we want to do it properly, do it professionally ... we'll be putting a shortlist together of key people. We'll do that as soon as we can."

Bernstein said the board would be sitting down on Friday to discuss the issue.

Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp is the hot favourite to take over the job on a permanent basis but the Englishman said on Thursday he was not even thinking about it as his focus was on his club duties.

While Bernstein would not comment on the widespread media speculation over Redknapp, he said there was a preference for an Englishman to get the job.

"He will not definitely be English but clearly there is a preference for an Englishman or a British person but in the end we want the best person so I'm certainly not prepared to rule out anything at this stage," Bernstein said.


The FA chairman was keen to emphasise that Capello had left the job in amicable circumstances, saying he had always behaved with "dignity and honour" and that Wednesday's events had been concluded with a handshake.

It was a sentiment echoed by Capello himself who issued a statement just before the FA news conference.

"I would like to thank all players, staff and Football Association for the professionalism they have shown during my years as manager of the English National Team," the Italian said.

"A very special thanks to all the supporters: they've always supported the team and me in our job.

"I wish all of them every success in achieving all their sporting goals."

Bernstein said he was satisfied his acceptance of Capello's resignation on behalf of the board was the right decision for the FA.

Capello had felt undermined when the FA stripped Terry of the captaincy after the player's criminal trial for allegedly racially abusing Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand was put back until after Euro 2012.

"We all believed that the John Terry case would be dealt with in March or April, when it was postponed we were taken by surprise ... and the board made a very quick and important unanimous decision regarding the captaincy," Bernstein said.

"I do agree that the manager is the most important person in a football club or organisation like this but there moments when the board and the chairman have to step up to the plate when strong leadership is required."

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