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PSG unstoppable in France

Report Card: PSG
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No. 44: Willian, Chelsea

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By ESPN Staff

No rift between Brooking and Barwick - FA

The Football Association have dismissed any suggestion of a rift between England powerbrokers Brian Barwick and Sir Trevor Brooking.

Between them, FA chief executive Barwick and director of football development Brooking have been tasked with the job of finding Steve McClaren's successor as England coach.

Over the past fortnight, they have met with a number of senior figures within the game, both from inside and outside England's borders, hoping the extensive consultative process will eventually unearth the right man.

However, reports have emerged of a major difference of opinion between the pair with Barwick said to want a 'world-class' continental manager, while Brooking is adamant he wants an Englishman in charge, probably in the form of West Ham boss Alan Curbishley.

Although he was interviewed last time around, Curbishley has never seemed likely to figure prominently in the FA's thoughts on this occasion and in any case, has already ruled himself out of contention.

And the FA are livid at the suggestion Barwick and Brooking are now at odds with each other.

'There is no truth in any suggestion of a problem between Brian Barwick and Sir Trevor Brooking, or a conflict or difference of opinion of any sort in appointing the next England manager,' said FA director of communications Adrian Bevington.

'It is totally without foundation. It is misleading to the public and grossly unfair on Brian and Sir Trevor, who are going about their work in a completely professional manner.

'This is not helpful at a time when we are doing all we can to ensure we get the right man and the best man for the England job, which is what the fans all want.'

With the consultative process now at an end and the opinions of Arsene Wenger, Sir Alex Ferguson, Sir Bobby Charlton and Sir Bobby Robson, among others, taken on board, Barwick and Brooking are now determining their next course of action.

The most obvious route forward now is to speak with potential candidates, especially Jose Mourinho to determine his intentions and desire to take on the job.

Although they have elected not to get involved in the daily push for Mourinho from outside sources, insisting they will take their time in making an appointment and not be railroaded into one, the FA have privately rejected the suggestion a meeting with the former Chelsea coach has been arranged for the next 48 hours.

Once Mourinho has given a firm indications of his plans for the future, the FA can move accordingly.

Former Juventus and Real Madrid coach Fabio Capello is another live candidate, with FA sources confirming neither England skipper John Terry nor vice-captain Steven Gerrard will have been asked about the suitability of a non-English speaking candidate, a situation that also applied to Italy's World Cup-winning coach Marcello Lippi.

As a long-time admirer of Martin O'Neill, Barwick will want to establish whether the Ulsterman's forceful public rejection of any interest remains the same in private, while Jurgen Klinsmann's claims cannot be totally discounted, even if the California-based German remains an outside bet.

Curbishley insisted he is happy at West Ham and doubted whether any credence should be attached to the reports.

He said: 'I don't know why this has come out, I don't know how much substance is in it, if any.

'But it is the topic everyone wants to talk about at the moment. Every day there is speculation.

'I am happy and committed to West Ham. We have a massive week coming up and as far as I am concerned nothing will get in the way of that.'