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By ESPN Staff

Ferguson backing foreign coach for England

Sir Alex Ferguson believes the Football Association have done exactly the right thing by bringing in a foreigner as England coach.

Unless there is a dramatic change of events over the next 48 hours, Fabio Capello looks certain to be appointed as Steve McClaren's successor, successfully concluding the FA's search for a 'world class' manager.

Ferguson is not quite as vehement as Arsene Wenger in his belief that the job should be held by an Englishman, although he admits it would be preferable.

However, the Scot's pragmatic side makes him understand perfectly why FA chief executive Brian Barwick has turned to Capello, who has won seven titles during an illustrious career including spells at Juventus, AC Milan and Real Madrid.

'In a perfect situation, you would get someone from England, that would be good, everyone in England would prefer it,' said Ferguson.

'But the most important criteria is to find a manager who is going to be successful and the choices in England are very limited.

'For quite a while now, the England team has not been successful enough to satisfy expectations. The demands on England should be the same as they are on Italy, Germany and France, so, there is pressure on the manager to do well.

'You need a guarantee, so the wisest thing to do is get someone who can be successful, whether they come from Mongolia, Italy or Scotland.'

Capello is expected to fly into London today for talks with Barwick and the FA's director of football development Sir Trevor Brooking, who have worked closely throughout the recruitment process.

Whether the appointment is ratified by the FA board later this week or at their planned meeting next Wednesday, Capello now seems certain to be coach when England next take the field against Switzerland on February 6.

Aside from the game where David Beckham should win his 100th cap, it also marks the long road towards the World Cup qualifying campaign, which begins in September.

And, while there are not too many issues on which Ferguson and Wenger agree, Capello's attributes are one of them.

'I have known Fabio for a long time and he is an outstanding candidate,' said the Arsenal manager.

'As far as the technical part of the job is concerned, you do not have to worry about him. He is a strong man, with a strong character.

'He has a clear idea of what he wants and when he is convinced of something he goes to the end of it.

'I believe he is a strong winner and is a guy who is convinced of the methods that he uses.

'I believe a manager is strong when he swims against the tide - I feel he can do that and that is quite a needed quality in this country.'