Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill has long been the ideal candidate to lead England, according legendary goalkeeper Peter Shilton.
England are once again on the lookout for a new permanent manager following Sam Allardyce’s departure in controversial circumstances this week.
Shilton, who has a record 125 caps to his name, is not convinced there is a suitably qualified English manager available to replace Allardyce and match the calibre of top coaches from his playing days.
The 67-year-old feels O’Neill should have been appointed before Roy Hodgson was hired in 2012 and thinks the Football Association now faces a tricky task to find a credible successor to Allardyce.
“If we are looking at Englishmen there is not a great list at the moment,” he told Omnisport.
“Listen, I played 20 years for England, international football, 30 years as a professional. I know what it takes to manage international football from the great Sir Alf Ramsey, who won the World Cup for us, right through to Bobby Robson.
“You’ve got to have certain qualities and pedigree. I’m not so sure we’ve got those sorts of managers anymore in England and it’s going to be a tough decision, but you have to have those credentials.
“You have to have man management with players these days. You have to get the best out of them. It’s not just about tactics and training, it’s about the players respecting you and wanting to play for you.
“I said to the FA, nobody listens to me, when Martin O’Neill the Ireland manager was available, I thought, ‘Alright he’s not English but he’s as English as you are going to get outside of being English’.
“And I think he’s got those skills. I played with him at Nottingham Forest. His career in management has been excellent. He’s won trophies and he’s got the best out of the Irish team. You can see they want to play for him.
“I said before the Roy Hodgson appointment that they should have gone for Martin O’Neill and now obviously it is too late. Who knows, maybe it’s not too late, but I would like someone like that who could actually get the best out of players to really fight and work for them because we haven’t had that for the last few tournaments.”
Shilton thinks interim boss Gareth Southgate – who will lead England for the next four matches – is a decent choice as a short-term option, but is not convinced he has the experience to deliver immediate results at a major tournament.
He added: “Gareth Southgate ticks a lot of boxes in the sense that he has played international football. I can’t imagine him being involved in a lot of the activities off the pitch that we have been talking about [with Allardyce].
“On the downside, his experience in management hasn’t been great, his time in Middlesbrough. He’s been the Under-21 manager but it’s a little bit different, I think, managing kids to managing seasoned professionals.
“So, on that side of it he hasn’t got the pedigree you would want from an international manager. He’s got a lot of potential, but sometimes potential is not good enough when you are trying to get success with an international team.
“I think on a short-term basis the FA will probably try him out because we’ve got games against Malta and Slovenia and they aren’t exactly games where you would think we would struggle.”
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