Why it may seem like the next England manager has already been decided...if you're a conspiracy theorist, of course

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Considering there are just 99 days and 180 minutes of friendly football until England start their Euro 2012 campaign, everybody at the FA seems remarkably relaxed.

You would have thought they ­already know who will be in charge of the team when it steps out against France in Donetsk on June 11.

Only if you are a conspiracy ­theorist, of course.

And when, in the bowels of Wembley Stadium on Wednesday night, Stuart Pearce spoke of altering Fabio Capello’s pre-tournament plans, you would have thought he knew ­exactly who would be in charge.

Only if you are a conspiracy ­theorist, of course.

“I just tinkered with a couple of dates,” said Pearce. “I think the rest and recuperation of the players and to freshen them up mentally is ­really important. If a new man walks through the door, everything is there for him. It makes sense especially if someone isn’t going to be approached until the end of the season.”

He said that last bit with a straight face as well.

So presumably that ‘new man’ will have no say in the logistical details for that vital period of preparation.

Pearce also expanded on his ­decision to give the captaincy to Scott Parker: “I have been around Scott for a couple of years. I was in pre-camp before South Africa and the way he ­handled himself there was commendable. I see his relationship with the squad, I see how unselfish he is as a player. That was my thinking behind making him captain.” You would have thought Pearce was aware the ‘new man’ would ­approve of his choice.

Only if you are a conspiracy ­theorist, of course.

Because, apparently, no-one knows who the ‘new man’ will be. Certainly not the FA. Remarkably relaxed is Sir Trevor Brooking’s default setting. But he was spectacularly laid-back when discussing the situation: “We’re not in a rush. I don’t see anything happening soon.” You’d have thought Trevor knew the ‘new man’ was nailed on.

Only if you are a conspiracy ­theorist, of course.

On Friday, Alex Horne, general ­secretary of the FA, insisted there was a shortlist but ‘it’s a back end of the season decision for us’.

So, let’s get this right. The FA will go through an exhaustive interview process just weeks before ­proceedings kick off in Ukraine and Poland? Brooking even suggested it could yet be Pearce, saying: “He’s done really well … and you can see his enthusiasm. He’s relished the chance.”

Getting turned over at Wembley is not most people’s idea of doing ­‘really well’.

And doesn’t Pearce already have a job this summer?

He claimed it was feasible – ­indeed, beneficial – for him to take charge of the Euro 2012 squad and then the Great British Olympic squad.

“I think in some ways it will help,” he said. “I will be in tournament mode.”

Perhaps. But if Pearce really is a serious contender to take England to Poland and the Ukraine, then he should be replaced as Team GB coach immediately.

The Olympic campaign should not be an afterthought, a pleasant ­epilogue to the summer’s main ­narrative.

Planning and preparation should be starting now.

When the FA championed the cause of an Olympic team, they surely thought it inconceivable that the same manager could take charge of both squads.

Which is just one more reason why Pearce cannot surely be a contender for the coach’s jacket at Euro 2012.

And that might make you think his declaration of availability is a red herring, that this whole impasse is a bit of a charade, that the FA is ­simply waiting for the right time to formalise their approach, that they know it will be successful, that they know who the ‘new man’ is and that they know it will be Henry James Redknapp.

You might think that.

Only if you are conspiracy ­theorist, of course.

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