Fabio Capello resigned as England manager yesterday following the decision by the FA to strip John Terry of the captaincy because of his pending racism trial in July. Terry denies a charge of racially abusing QPR defender Anton Ferdinand in October.
Harry Redknapp has become the overwhelming favourite to succeed Capello in the long term and the FA confirmed a short-list will be drawn up tomorrow.
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Stuart Pearce worked closely with Fabio Capello before the Italian quit his post as England manager
There have been calls to avoid appointing another foreign coach but Bernstein said the new man won't definitely be British. He stated the FA had a preference for a British candidate but insisted the priority is to appoint the best person.
Pearce, who served as Capello's assistant, is the England Under 21 boss and will take charge of the Great Britain men's Olympic team this summer, will look after senior national team affairs in the short term at least.
He had been due to be in charge of the Under 21s against Belgium in Middlesbrough on February 29.
Bernstein told a press conference at Wembley: 'I can announce that Stuart Pearce will manage the England team against Holland.
Bags packed: Capello and wife Laura left their London home on Thursday morning in a cab
'He has huge experience outside and inside the organisation. He has been working with the Under 21 team and has been working with Fabio for some time. I have got great confidence in Stuart, we will be in good hands.
'Our priority then will be to appoint a new England manager.'
Bernstein revealed that the decision to strip Terry of the captaincy had been a unanimous one.
'We all believed that the John Terry case would be dealt with in March or April,' Bernstein said. 'When it was postponed we were taken by surprise like everybody else was taken bysurprise.
Leaving the building: Fabio Capello departs Wembley Stadium following his dramatic meeting with the FA
TODAY'S POLL Is Harry Redknapp the man to succeed Fabio Capello?
Yes No CloseAll pollsClick to view yesterday's poll results'The board made a very quick and unanimous decision regarding the captaincy. I informed Fabio on Thursday evening as soon as the decision had been made. Fabio wasn't happy but he accepted the board's authority in the matter.
'On Sunday Fabio conducted an interview with an Italian broadcaster. That caused conjecture and huge public debate and frankly it was an unsatisfactory situation.'
Bernstein insisted Capello had 'behaved with dignity and honour' during the meetings with the FA yesterday.
'Yesterday was not an easy day but we concluded matters with a handshake. Any reports of storming out and are a complete misrepresentation of the facts,' he added.