Eddie has the know-Howe for England job says Armfield

Eddie Howe
Eddie Howe
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Jimmy Armfield has played a key role in appointing past England managers and is tipping Eddie Howe as a viable candidate for the job.

The search is already under way to replace Roy Hodgson, who quit just minutes after England’s humiliating exit from the European Championships at the hands of Iceland, one of the darkest nights in the history of the English game.

Bournemouth boss Howe figures high in the bookmakers’ betting, behind early favourite Gareth Southgate, and former Blackpool and England captain Armfield said: “You want someone who is not too old and has had a few ups and downs – not too many downs – someone like Eddie Howe.

“He has been around, starting at Bournemouth and then going to Burnley, where things didn’t work out. He went back to Bournemouth and has had success.

“Howe has been through the mill a little bit. He is someone to consider.”

Having been approached by the FA, Armfield was instrumental in the appointments of both Terry Venables and Glenn Hoddle in the 1990s. Venables led England to the semi-finals of Euro 96, then Hoddle boasted a win ration of over 60 per cent.

But Armfield, who played 43 times for England, says persuading the right man to take the job could be a stumbling block.

He added: “One of the hardest things was to find someone who really wanted the job, which I found astonishing.”

Southgate led England Under-21s to victory in the recent Toulon tournament but Armfield said: “We always seem to do well with our younger players. I had success myself when I coached the England Under-16 and Under-18 teams.

“You need someone who can handle experienced players and that calls for special managerial skills.”

Looking back to Monday’s fateful exit to minnows Iceland, Armfield said: “We played against a side that was full of passion. They had nothing to lose and they had togetherness.

“We got the good start we wanted through the penalty, but Iceland equalised almost immediately and that was when a bit of doubt crept in – but professionals should be able to handle that.

“England qualified easily but playing in a tournament is different.

“You have to stay in hotels and you have three or four days between games, and you have to learn to live with that.”

Armfield was a member of the England squad that won the 1966 World Cup, and although he did not play in the tournament he felt very much a part of the set-up.

He recalled: “It is 50 years since the World Cup. The squad have met many times since and we have often said that one of the good things we had was togetherness.

“We never discussed money from getting together to the time of leaving after the World Cup Final. Money was never an issue.

“After the final, we said we were going to share the players’ £22,000 and we all went back to our clubs. It was not about money – we desperately wanted to win the World Cup.”

The 22 in the squad were paid £1,000 each for beating West Germany – £726 after tax!

The abject failure of England to make any impact in Euro 2016 comes at a time when the resurgent national rugby union team have just made history with a 3-0 series whitewash in Australia under new coach Eddie Jones.

But Armfield played down the comparisons, saying: “It is not quite the same – football is a global game and it’s the whole world taking part.”

Armfield’s fellow Blackpool great Alan Ball, reckoned by many to have been the man of the match in England’s 1966 World Cup Final triumph, has been added to the National Football Museum’s Walk of Fame.

Ball was the youngest member of that England team at 21 and played a key part in the 4-2 win over West Germany, laying on the controversial third goal for Sir Geoff Hurst.

Ball was transferred soon afterwards to Everton, where he enjoyed title-winning success four years later.

He won 72 England caps and returned to Bloomfield Road in 1980 for a 12-month stint as player-manager, the first of seven English clubs he managed. Ball died in 2007, aged 61.

His addition to the Walk of Fame coincided with the launch of a 1966 World Cup exhibition at the museum in Manchester city centre.

Armfield was among the VIP guests at its official opening, along with Hurst, Sir Bobby Charlton and outgoing FA chairman Greg Dyke.

Items on display include shirts worn by Hurst, Bobby Moore and Franz Beckenbauer in the Wembley final as well as Pele’s training kit, the Jules Rimet Trophy and the final match ball. The exhibition runs until April next year.