FA play down Mourinho England claims
Published : 28 Mar 2011 23:30:08
The Football Association have cast doubts over Jose Mourinho's claim that he was 'hours' away from becoming England manager - but Fabio Capello is not bothered if he was.
Mourinho made his bold statement during an extensive interview with L'Equipe. The Real Madrid boss said he would have been Steve McClaren's successor in 2007 had it not been for a last-minute change of heart.
"Fabio was our first choice for England manager," said an FA spokesman. "We have made that clear from the outset."
Mourinho was linked with the England job immediately after the Three Lions crashed out of Euro 2008 in qualifying
He would undoubtedly have been high on the FA's wish-list and conversations did take place, although there were always reservations about whether he would commit to the role, even with a £6million-a-year salary attached.
The former Chelsea boss put an end to his candidacy on December 11, declaring: "After deep and serious thinking, I decided to exclude myself from being England manager."
Three days later, Capello was unveiled. But if there was a sense of the Italian being second choice, he is clearly not troubled by it.
"It does not matter to me," he said. "Every time a club or a different national team decides to choose a manager, they decide to speak with a lot of managers. It's normal. It's not different."
Indeed, there were claims Capello was approached to replace Sven-Goran Eriksson in 2006, only to turn the FA down.
"I don't like to speak about my relationship with the clubs, with other people," said Capello. "These are my personal secrets. I will never tell you about what really happened in my career. It's serious."