Fabio Capello has emerged as the favourite to succeed Steve McClaren as England’s coach after Jose Mourinho ruled himself out of contention.
The former Chelsea manager has contacted the Football Association’s chief executive, Brian Barwick, to inform him that he was no longer interested in the post.
Sources close to Capello said yesterday that he would regard the England job as the pinnacle of his career.
The former Real Madrid, Juventus, Milan and Roma coach has already said he is keen to succeed Steve McClaren. Capello has won nine league titles in 16 years as coach, picking up silverware with all four clubs he has coached. Since leaving Madrid in June after guiding them to the La Liga crown, Capello has been working as a commentator for Italian television company RAI.
Italy’s World Cup-winning coach Marcello Lippi is thought to be Capello’s main rival. Barwick is also believed to be considering the credentials of Aston Villa’s Martin O’Neill and former Germany coach Jurgen Klinsmann
In an interview last weekend Mourinho indicated that he was interested in taking the England post, but there has always been a suspicion within the FA that he was using the speculation to enhance his prospects of being employed by one of Europe’s big clubs. The Portuguese has been linked with Milan and his withdrawal indicates that a firm offer from the Italian club may well be imminent.
In his statement Mourinho described the post as a “fantastic” opportunity, but said that ultimately he was not interested.
“After Steve McClaren left the England football team, my representatives maintained contact with the FA,” he said. “In that sense, I had myself useful discussions with Brian Barwick and Trevor Brooking where we exchanged ideas to evaluate the entire situation about the England squad and set the goals in case of real invitation being addressed to me.
“After deep and serious thinking, I decided to exclude myself from being England manager despite it being a fantastic position for me. I’m sure the FA will hire a great manager, one able to place the team back where it belongs.”