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By ESPN Staff

Premier League trio criticise choice of Capello

LONDON, Dec 14 (Reuters) - Premier League managers Gareth Southgate, Steve Coppell and Mark Hughes have criticised the Football Association (FA) board's decision to appoint Italian Fabio Capello as England coach.

Capello succeeds Steve McClaren, who was sacked last month after England failed to qualify for Euro 2008, and become the second foreigner in the job following Swede Sven-Goran Eriksson (2001-06).

'When I played (for England) under Sven I felt it was all right to have a foreign coach but I have changed my mind since then,' Middlesbrough manager Southgate told British newspapers on Friday.

'I don't think an England team should be coached by anyone other than an Englishman.'

Southgate's views were echoed by Reading manager Coppell, another former England international.

'I am sad,' said Coppell. 'I am a proud English manager and would have loved an Englishman to have been in charge.

'You look at the list of contenders and what he (Capello) has done ticks all the boxes but I just wish he was English. We have now created a situation where it is very hard for an English manager to get to the top of the tree.'

Hughes, who was in charge of his native Wales before taking the helm at Blackburn Rovers in September 2004, said things were starting to look grim for British managers.

'The longer it goes on that the top jobs go to foreign coaches, the more difficult it will become for English and British coaches to get the big jobs in the future,' said Hughes.

'I am disappointed for British coaches because another huge opportunity has been given to a foreign manager.'

However, the new England boss also has plenty of support from around the Premier League.

Manchester City's Swedish manager, and former England coach, Sven Goran Eriksson said: 'Capello is one of the best managers you can find.'

Rafael Benitez, Liverpool's Spanish manager, said: 'I know him, he is a great manager. He is a good worker and has clear ideas what to do. He is a winner.'

And Arsene Wenger, Arsenal's French manager, said: 'I have known Fabio for a long time and he is an outstanding candidate. 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.'