John Ward still has his old England track-suit
COLCHESTER United boss John Ward still cherishes the track-suit from his days as a member of England’s national set-up.
The red-hot topic of a potential successor to Fabio Capello, as the new England manager, was discussed during the weekly press conference at the Weston Homes Community Stadium yesterday morning.
The U’s visit to Walsall tomorrow is in serious doubt, due to the wintry weather, which shifted the emphasis onto national rather than just club issues.
Ward believes that Harry Redknapp, although the favourite to take over from Capello, might face a “stumbling block” in the shape of his current contract at Tottenham.
And while 60-year-old Ward is now well-established as the Colchester boss, he still values his own experiences as a part of Graham Taylor’s England regime during the early 1990s.
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Ward recalled: “I was involved in the England set-up, taking the under-21s to a tournament in Toulon for two years running.
“The first I worked with Ray Harford, bless him. Ray was the manager that year, and Alan Shearer scored the winner against France (1991), which was great, being against the host nation.
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“The second year I took it on with Phil Neal, the former Liverpool full-back. We worked it together – and we didn’t win it!
“I worked with players like Alan Shearer, David James, Andy Cole, Ray Parlour and Richard Hall, who is now working downstairs in our youth department. It was a top experience.
“Ray then went on to to work with Kenny Dalglish at Blackburn. They signed Alan Shearer, but didn’t sign me. They left me where I was, at York City (as manager)!
“It was a nice honour really, and I have still got my tracksuit with the three lions on it. You don’t give that away easily.
“Twenty years on and it’s a bit tight now! I don’t know whether it’s shrunk or not”, joked Ward.
In terms of the current England job, Ward added: “Harry is still contracted at Tottenham, and I think that’s going to be a major stumbling block. They won’t want to release him, even with compensation,
“But personally, I’d go along with the majority and say that Harry would be the best man for the job.”