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Rewind to Boxing Day 1963

Barclays Premier League
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By ESPN Staff

Sir Alex would never entertain England job

Sir Alex Ferguson would never have considered managing England.

In his recently-published autobiography, former Football Association executive director David Davies claims he asked Ferguson whether he would take charge of the Three Lions - and on each occasion the response was negative.

Ferguson has refused to confirm the approaches. Indeed, he cast doubt on them. However, the Manchester United manager said there is no way he would have done it anyway.

"There is absolutely no chance,'' he said.

In Fabio Capello, Ferguson does feel England have the right man in place now.

A long-standing rival at club level, Capello has impressed the United boss with his handling of England's highly-paid stars.

Four successive wins for the first time at the start of World Cup qualifying tells its own story - and the Italian has definitely been given Ferguson's seal of approval.

"Fabio has done very well,'' he said.

"He has grasped the nettle, assessed the situation and put his own fingerprints on the job. That was important.

"He has this mental toughness, which means he can handle anything.''

One thing Capello will not be handling is media intrusion into the World Cup campaign in South Africa.

If, as expected, England reach the competition, he will hardly need Rio Ferdinand to tell him the 'circus' that followed England round in Baden-Baden should not be repeated.

With high-profile wives and girlfriends photographed on a regular basis as they shared a hotel with the media who had travelled to report on the exploits of Sven-Goran Eriksson's team, the entire month seemed like one glamorous fashion shoot.

In the end, those images became more noteworthy than the England squad itself.

Ferdinand, named vice-captain by Capello following his appointment as Steve McClaren's successor, struck a chord with many by his considered verdict - and Ferguson feels the Manchester United defender was right.

"When I was reading about all these things, I did wonder about what impact it would have when all the players' wives were together,'' said the United boss.

"If Rio felt that was an encumbrance on the team, I am sure Fabio Capello is quite well aware of it.''

Having family so close, for the entire duration of the tournament, seems at odds with the professional approach required for England to reach their potential.

It seems unlikely Capello would countenance a repeat if, as has been reported, England base themselves at a plush hotel between Port Elizabeth and Cape Town should they reach South Africa 2010.

"To succeed in football you must have a certain discipline and make certain sacrifices,'' said Ferguson.

"That has always been the case here.''

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