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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Dec 10, 2007

Robson: England might be 'too soon' for Jose

Sir Bobby Robson has questioned if it might be 'too soon' for Jose Mourinho to become the new England coach after revealing he has spoken with the former Chelsea manager.

Robson is one of the top figures in football whom FA chief executive Brian Barwick has spoken to for advice as he seeks to select Steve McClaren's successor.

Former England coach Robson, who led his country to the semi-finals of the 1990 World Cup, believes Mourinho would be a strong candidate but wonders if the time is right for him to swap club management for international management.

Robson, who won the lifetime achievement award at the BBC Sports Personality of The Year ceremony yesterday, said: 'Most of us would prefer for an English manager to be appointed, I would. The job should be in the hands of an Englishman and I feel strong about that.

'But the FA want the best man for the job and if they feel at the moment that there isn't a strong English candidate who ticks all the boxes, then we may have to go British or abroad.

'I've had a chat with Brian Barwick and I've passed on to Brian Barwick my views, and Brian Barwick will be responsible for deciding and announcing the next England manager. He is rowing the boat and he doesn't want to make a mistake. I hope we get the right man.

'Could Jose Mourinho do the job? It is different and he is young. When I got the job, I'd been 14 years as a manager in England with Ipswich and learned how to coach and manage with low budgets.

'Jose has been at the top level for four years. You might think `is it too soon'? It will depend on Jose, how he feels, but he is a clever lad, he is intelligent and bright and confident.'

Robson acknowledges that the strong Chelsea contingent in England's ranks - John Terry, Frank Lampard, Joe Cole, Ashley Cole, Shaun Wright-Phillips and Wayne Bridge - makes Mourinho an attractive option.

'I understand the Chelsea players like him so he is a very strong candidate indeed. He speaks good English, worked here for a number of years, knows the players, knows the English league and that gives him an advantage. That is not to say he will get the job,' Robson said.

'I have contacted him. We are just in dialogue. Is that regarding the England job? I was just generally talking to him. Did he ask your advice about the England job? I won't answer that question.'

Robson received his BBC award from Sir Alex Ferguson and he paid a glowing tribute to the Manchester United manager.

He said: 'Sir Alex is without doubt the greatest British manager in the game ever, in the history of the game, I would say.

'Bill Shankly, Bob Paisley, Jock Stein and Brian Clough and all those other great managers were marvellous but Sir Alex tops the lot.

'What makes him so special? He has got a great human side to him. He always has time for ex-managers and ex-players and anyone who rings him up.

'He has a great man-management style which is successful with his players. He knows how to win, he understands losing and he has proved beyond doubt he is a fabulous football manager. 'Because he is Scottish he won't take the England job. If he had been English, he would have been a certainty.'