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Curbishley gripe put him behind in England race

last updated Thursday 13th April 2006, 9:16 AM

Alan Curbishley may have damaged his chances of becoming England's next manager by complaining about the scrutiny that goes with the job. That gripe has not endeared him to some at the Football Association, who are aware that the glare of publicity will be on whoever takes the post.

Curbishley's outstanding record over 15 years with Charlton Athletic, a club that had been on the brink of extinction when he joined, has earned him a place on the FA's short list, but it has been noted at Soho Square that he has seemed occasionally uncomfortable in recent weeks.

"If you imagine the position we [the candidates] all find ourselves in, it's not right," Curbishley has said. "Since Sven decided he was going to leave, it's been going on for two or three months; and we have all got jobs to do, all got responsibilities to our clubs."

Senior FA officials are working to a three-week timetable to appoint the next England manager. Though the FA had previously indicated only that Sven-Goran Eriksson's successor would be announced "before the World Cup" that deadline can now be brought forward.

The exhaustive process entered its latter stages on Monday and Tuesday after a panel of interviewers headed by the FA's chief executive Brian Barwick held talks with a succession of candidates at a 16th-century Oxfordshire manor. The interviewees were Sam Allardyce, Martin O'Neill, Steve McClaren and Luiz Felipe Scolari. Curbishley is expected to be interviewed by the end of the week.

However, although Curbishley retains the strong support of the director of football development Sir Trevor Brooking, his former West Ham United team-mate, he is lagging some way behind the frontrunners, O'Neill and McClaren.

Source Matt Scott at The Guardian

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