Derek Whyte: Why England need the Harry Redknapp effect


Derek Whyte doesn’t hide behind cliches- he just doesn’t understand the love-in for foreign managers in English football.

“It drives me nuts,” is the short answer when the subject is brought up.

And don’t get him started comparing Rafael Benitez to Davie Moyes

The former Celt has developed close ties with a number of Premiership personalities through his job as a presenter of Showtime Arabia’s Premiership coverage.

Watching England’s World Cup campaign unravel is compulsive viewing with the blame game scattered in various directions.

Pampered players and an out-of-touch manager are the chief culprits with various degrees of blame laid between the two.

Fabio Capello’s cv may be one of the most impressive in the game but it lacks two vital ingredients for managing England- international experience and language.

Capello’s strained English has come under scrutiny with the daily media spotlight that the World Cup brings with the Italian failing to impress.

The England manager has struggled to explain his team selections and ideas leaving media and supporters at a loss to explain England’s performances from one of the easiest World Cup groups.

All the qualifications in the world count for little against grim results with Whyte believing that the language barrier between manager and players can’t be overcome.

“People always go on about foreign coaches and how they are better than UK coaches but for me that’s nonsense,” he admitted.

“There are brilliant managers in the UK that don’t get the chance, that happens in the Premiership and now also with the England international side.

“Initially with Capello people thought that he was learning the language and that there was no problem. The biggest part of management is managing the players, making use of the time before the games and the crucial one is at half -time.

“You have less than fifteen minutes to get your points across. I had a foreign coach in Ebbe Skovdahl at Aberdeen and you just can’t get the points across in the same way. An English speaking manager would lay it on the line and tell you exactly what he’s looking for.

“I was in dressing rooms with big Billy (McNeill), Davie Hay and Bryan Robson and they could all turn things round at half-time. They were managers that I had total respect for and who understood the game.

“They told you how it was and got their points across. They’d encourage you for the good and it was effective.

“There would be industrial language and you knew that if you didn’t do your job you’d be coming off, it was simple. I don’t think that Capello has that in him.

“His track record is magnificent but there can be a lot of myths with foreign managers. You can only do so many training sessions.

“England have enough good players and they just don’t look happy, the body language is all wrong and I don’t think that there is any warmth or rapport between players and manager.”

Football moves in cycles.

If Capello fails as England manager it’s highly unlikely that another foreign coach will be appointed.

No English manager has ever won the Premiership, a major stumbling block to being appointed as England manager.

Experience of managing in the Champions League is another key qualification where English candidates are thin on the ground.

Having been overlooked in favour of Steve McClaren four years ago it’s doubtful if Martin O’Neill or Sam Allerdyce would be interested in the England job leaving one very obvious candidate to take over the national side.

“We’ve had Harry Redknapp on our show in Dubai and he was very impressive,” Whyte added. “He took over at Spurs in similar circumstances.

“The Spurs players never understood a word that Juande Ramos said, he couldn’t get his points across. They didn’t like him, they were restricted but they need to have a life.

“Harry has turned everything around at Spurs, he’s an experienced manager, whether he’d get the England job or not with the tax things hanging over him is another matter.

“Football is about managing players and I think that he can do the job.

“I’m following the coverage of the England squad and heard Craig Brown talking about the 98 World Cup and he’d let us go out for a couple of beers, not every night, just occasionally and that build up camaraderie and team spirit. That’s a big part of football.

“A night out to go to the cinema, playing some golf or having a few beers together can make all the difference and helps keep everyone happy.

“I don’t see the England players enjoying themselves, they are stuck in the middle of nowhere with nothing to fill their days apart from training and watching matches, it will be driving them nuts.

“There will be cliques within the England squad but the right manager can massage the egos and handle things properly. Harry Redknapp is someone that could do that.

“I’m not saying sack Capello but I understand what’s happening, I still think that they’ll qualify but the players don’t look happy. It’s incredible.

“The manager is so disciplined, no mobile phones and lots of other small rules. They are grown men and have been away for more than a month now.

“They do things differently in Italy but this is England and the players aren’t used to it.”

Whyte has had an active part in World Cup hosting a top of the range roadshow event at Dubai’s Maydan Racecourse alongside Rob McCafferty, his co-host with Showtime Arabia.

With Dubai a favoured haunt amongst the footballing fraternity the event has attracted a number of famous pundits who’ve shared Whyte’s concerns over England’s dismal performances.

The former Celtic defender added: “The shows have been brilliant, sometimes more entertaining than the matches but I expect things to get more exciting with the knock-out phase starting.

“We’ve had Ricky Hatton, Carlton Palmer and Phil Brown on the show so far, we’ve got Sam Allerdyce coming soon and everyone is saying the same things about England.

“The punters can’t believe it, they watch the players every week and can barely recognise them when they put on an England shirt.

“I played in England for six years, I’ve been earning my living in Dubai for four years covering the Premiership. I know the players and the personalities involved

“Believe it or not as a Scotsman I want them to do well, I like the players and I think that it’s incredible how people are swayed because it’s a foreign manager, for me it’s bizarre.

“The players that England have are definitely capable of playing much better, that’s obvious. With a manager that knows and understands the players better I’m convinced that England could do far better.”

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1 comment

  • Eddie Murray says:

    Good to see Big Sunbed topping up his tan in warmer climes.He’s always beem known as a nice big fella and is intelligent-as we can see from his viewpoints. I agree with the foreign coach angle and like Derek says, why overlook UK men for guys who can’t tell you what he wants from you? Good to see his Show prosper-might see you on there one day Joe,eh?

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