Even with players already backing Harry Redknapp for the job and the European Championship only four months away, the English Football Association said Thursday it will not rush to hire Fabio Capello's successor as England coach.
Capello quit Wednesday following a disagreement with FA Chairman David Bernstein, who had stripped John Terry of the England captaincy.
“There is clearly a preference for an Englishman,'' Bernstein said of the opening. “There is a preference for an English person or a British person, but in the end we want the best person. Clearly an English or a British person would have a good start of the matter.''
England players Rio Ferdinand and Wayne Rooney have already called on the FA to hire Redknapp, a Londoner who is the manager at Tottenham.
“We can't be driven by that,'' Bernstein said. “We have to put a proper shortlist together ... we don't want to rush anything. There's no need to rush anything. We'll give it proper consideration and it'll have high priority.''
England under-21 coach Stuart Pearce will take charge of England's friendly against the Netherlands on Feb. 29. England's Euro 2012 opener is on June 11 against France.
“Everyone's focus is on Euro 2012 and our objective is to recruit a manager and go to Poland and Ukraine, perform well and achieve success,'' said Adrian Bevington, the managing director of the team.
Redknapp, who has led Tottenham into third place in this season's Premier League, has long spoken of his belief that the next England coach should be English and also that the job is the pinnacle for any Englishman.
However, he has also said that he would personally miss the daily interaction with players that comes with working for a club.
“I think we're jumping the gun a little bit here,'' Keith Mills, a non-executive director at Tottenham, told BBC Radio. “Whether Harry will be approached is not a foregone conclusion. If he is, then Harry has got a big decision to make.''
Redknapp said talk of him taking the England job was premature.
“I haven't even thought about it,'' Redknapp told Sky Sports News as he arrived at Tottenham's training ground, adding that he was fully focused on continuing the Premier League title push. ``We have a big game on Saturday (against Newcastle).''
The backing for the 64-year-old Redknapp came from two of England's most prominent players came on Twitter.
Rooney said he was “gutted'' that Capello quit, and then added: ``Got to be english to replace him. Harry redknapp for me.''
Ferdinand, who is Rooney's teammate at Manchester United and briefly served as captain under Capello, echoed Rooney's remarks.
“I think we need an English manager now, we don't need anything else lost in translation,'' Ferdinand wrote on Twitter. “Harry Redknapp would be my choice by a distance.''
Ferdinand's brother Anton was at the heart of the chain of events that ultimately led to Capello walking out on the England job.
Terry is accused of racially abusing Anton Ferdinand during Chelsea's league game at Queens Park Rangers in October and is now facing a criminal trial.
Capello said Terry should have been allowed to lead the side since his trial for racially abusing an opponent is not scheduled until after the June 8-July 1 tournament.
The FA decided on a more cautious approach, leaving Terry available for selection but removing him as the team's figurehead. That was not acceptable for Capello, who voiced his opposition on Italian television.
Prime Minister David Cameron said he was “sorry to see Fabio go'' after four years.
“He was a good coach and a good man,'' Cameron said during a visit to Sweden. “I don't think he was right about the John Terry issue. You can't be captain with that question mark that needs to be answered.''
But Cameron would not comment on possible successors.
“The day when the Prime Minister picks the England coach will be a very bad day for football,'' he said. “But I am sure we will find someone really good and I am sure that we will play well when the time comes.''