Bobby Robson has revealed a shortlist of five men he is to recommend to the English Football Association (FA) in their search for a new head coach and none of them are English.
The former England boss is among a group of senior figures in the domestic game who will be consulted by FA chief executive Brian Barwick over who should take over from Steve McClaren after the team's failure to qualify for UEFA EURO 2008.
He outlined his five-man list in his Mail On Sunday column, consisting of Aston Villa's Northern Irish boss Martin O'Neill, Russia's Dutch coach Guus Hiddink, former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho of Portugal, Italian Fabio Capello and Frenchman Gerard Houllier, most recently at Lyon.
"Of the British managers, Martin O'Neill clearly stands
out," Robson wrote. "He's bright, charismatic,
experienced and a proven winner.
"Jose's advantage is he knows our football and he would be welcomed back with open arms. Tactically, there is nobody better - I still remember his dossiers at Porto and Barcelona when he worked with me! - and that's important for one-off international games.''
As for Hiddink, the man whose Russia team pipped England for a place in the EURO 2008 finals, Robson opined: "His track record in international football is the best of all the contenders. Whereas club managers would need time to adjust - however successful they have been - Guus knows this kind of football inside out.
On Capello, Robson said: "After years in Spain and Italy, it would be interesting to see how he coped with the mentality of an English player."
Houllier has extensive experience of the English game after a spell as manager of Liverpool and Robson added: "His career has received a second wind after he left Liverpool. He won the French League twice with Lyon and I know players such as (Steven) Gerrard look up to him.'