FA headhunters should look beyond Redknapp
With the final dog-eared months of Fabio Capello's unexceptional reign as England manager slowly grinding by, someone somewhere at the FA must be giving ever more serious attention to the task of replacing him.
The received wisdom is that the next appointment will be an Englishman, and Harry Redknapp has made it as clear as political expediency allows that he wants the job.
Redknapp would certainly bring a refreshing sense of humour and a common touch to the England bandwagon.
Too few recent England managers have looked like they actually enjoy the job. Capello occasionally looks like he can only just stomach it, as though English football and footballers are something to be endured rather than enjoyed.
I have no reason to think that Redknapp would not be popular with the players and I know he would be popular with the press - so long as England were doing well.
However, I hope the headhunters at the FA will give serious consideration to another outstanding candidate who has demonstrated an enduring and very real affection for English football.
Is Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp a shoe-in for the England job? Photo: Getty
A manager whose CV is almost second to none, who believes passionately in investing in the foundations for long-term success, and a man who has probably done more to modernise the attitudes of the average English footballer than anyone else.
And he is a manager who might just fancy a change of scene.
That man is Arsene Wenger.
Saturday marks the 15th anniversary of his appointment at Arsenal, and the club is unrecognisable from the one which he inherited.
Talk to any of the Arsenal players who were there when Wenger replaced Bruce Rioch and they will tell you about a revolution in the way they approached the job of being a professional footballer.
Over those 15 years he has had considerable personal input in the design of both the new training ground and stadium.
He has built teams that have played some of the best football seen in the Premier League, and been consistently in the running for honours - seven major trophies as well as being a runner-up 10 times.
Of course what he has not done is win anything since the FA Cup in 2005. Some of the Arsenal fans who used to trust Wenger implicitly have had enough of waiting for the next silverware.
I can understand their frustration as the financial muscle of Chelsea and Manchester City have turned Arsenal into title outsiders rather than prime contenders.
Whether the financial constraints under which Wenger works are self-imposed is still not really clear. What is certain, though, is that he will not pay more for a player than he thinks he is worth.
He is clearly stubborn when it comes to money and don't forget that he has a Master's degree in economics from the University of Strasbourg.
Arsenal's players are hardly paupers, but nor are they paid so handsomely that their heads can't be turned - just count the former Gunners at Manchester City.
At club level there is a temptation to judge players' abilities by how much they cost, not by how good their technique is. In the international game transfer fees are an irrelevance, wages mean nothing.
The international game is the level playing field which Wenger hopes UEFA's financial fair play rules will help to create in club football.
It's about development from the grassroots up and coaching and it may now be a more natural home for Wenger than the money merry-go-round of the Premier League.
Of course, Arsenal's indifferent start to this campaign might well make the Frenchman even more determined to stay and fight for what he believes is the right way to run a major football club.
It may be that the sporadic busy spells of the England job would not suit a man who spends so much time steeped in the day-to-day minutiae of nurturing his squad. It's possible he just wouldn't want the grief.
But I'd like to think that someone at the FA would find out.