London: At least three managers are on England`s shortlist and its soccer association could appoint Fabio Capello`s successor to coach the national team as soon as next month.
Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp is the leading contender to lead England into the European Championship in June, but the Football Association is now willing to allow its new coach to start after the tournament if that is a deal-breaker.
The FA seemed to be publicly embarrassed during its search for new coaches in 2006 and 2007 when both Luiz Felipe Scolari and Jose Mourinho rejected the job.
But before any official approach is made this time, the FA hopes to discover privately whether its preferred candidate wants the job. Inside knowledge from within the football community will be used to whittle down the shortlist, which includes at least three names, not all of them British.
"We are treating clubs and managers with the greatest of respect, we don`t want to disrupt the season of the clubs," FA chairman David Bernstein said. "Most of the people we are looking at are in positions and whatever we do we ought to try and do it in a way which enables clubs to finish their season with the minimum of disruption.
"Our next step is to narrow that target list down to a very small number of key people who of course we believe actually want the position. There may be other people who don`t actually want this position."
Bernstein leads a board of four FA executives who will chose the coach and they have spoken to football experts and former players to gauge opinions.
Those talks have convinced Bernstein that England should be able to attract his first choice despite Chelsea now needing a new manager following the firing of Andre Villas-Boas after eight months on Sunday.
"This position is so unique that the right person would want to do it on a sensible basis and for the right reasons," Bernstein said, overlooking the Wembley Stadium field. "It is a very fluid situation, I am not sure if (other clubs searching for managers) helps or hinders. It depends on how the cards fall."
When Capello was appointed at the end of 2007 to replace Steve McClaren he emerged from a four-man shortlist.
"We have now arrived at a number of target names, I would call it a flexible target list because it`s not absolutely fixed in stone and we will react to events depending how events unfold," Bernstein said. "We would intend to deal with this at the back end of the season but it could be earlier, if certain things fell into place and the key appointment came, it could be earlier."
If not, under-21 coach Stuart Pearce could remain in temporary charge of the senior team at Euro 2012 after overseeing last week`s 3-2 loss to the Netherlands in a friendly.
Capello quit last month after he felt he was undermined by Bernstein`s decision to strip John Terry of the captaincy due to the Chelsea defender`s pending racism trial.