Harry Redknapp on missing out on the England job in 2012, the advice he would give to Gareth Southgate ahead of Euro 2024 and what he REALLY thought of Harry Kane as a youngster at Tottenham

Mail Sport spoke exclusively to former Tottenham, QPR and Portsmouth boss Harry Redknapp
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In another world, Harry Redknapp might pick up Gareth Southgate’s phone this week and pass on some words of advice and encouragement from a former England boss to a current one.

But despite a distinguished managerial career spanning 34 years, there was one thing Redknapp never managed: leading his country.

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The former Tottenham, QPR and Portsmouth boss was the overwhelming favorite for the role in 2012 after Fabio Capello walked out in protest at the FA’s decision to strip John Terry of the England captaincy.

Although he went on to lead Spurs to a fourth-place finish, Redknapp missed out on the Three Lions job, while then West Brom boss Roy Hodgson got the nod.

“I would love to have managed England,” Redknapp, 77, told Mail Sport exclusively. ‘Everyone would like to rule their country.

Mail Sport spoke exclusively to former Tottenham, QPR and Portsmouth boss Harry Redknapp

Mail Sport spoke exclusively to former Tottenham, QPR and Portsmouth boss Harry Redknapp

Redknapp enjoyed a distinguished coaching career but was never given the opportunity to manage England

Redknapp enjoyed a distinguished coaching career but was never given the opportunity to manage England

Redknapp enjoyed a distinguished coaching career but was never given the opportunity to manage England

Redknapp was tipped for the England job in 2012 but missed out on Roy Hodgson's role

Redknapp was tipped for the England job in 2012 but missed out on Roy Hodgson's role

Redknapp was tipped for the England job in 2012 but missed out on Roy Hodgson’s role

‘I am an Englishman, and I am a proud Englishman, and that is why I am happy that an Englishman is leading the country.’

Despite Redknapp’s slight regrets, his experience in English football, combined with spells in the US and Asia, gives him a unique perspective on what it takes to succeed as a coach.

But what advice would he pass on to Southgate ahead of Euro 2024 if the pair got that phone call?

“I would be very positive about this team,” he says. ‘No team has a group of players as good as us. Let’s go out and take it to other teams, play great attacking football and go and win it.

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“If we attack, I don’t see how anyone should live with us and I don’t see so many dangers.

‘I think Germany will be fine, they are at home. Portugal looks good and has good players.

‘But we have the best striker in the world [Jude] Bellingham – and there won’t be many better players in the world than him.

‘Even though he is just a child, [Phil] Foden was probably the best player in the Premier League this year and he is a fantastic talent.

‘They are a really good team who should win a trophy and it would be a huge disappointment if we don’t.’

Redknapp praised the quality of the Three Lions' 26-man squad for Euro 2024 this summer

Redknapp praised the quality of the Three Lions' 26-man squad for Euro 2024 this summer

Redknapp praised the quality of the Three Lions’ 26-man squad for Euro 2024 this summer

He also urged Gareth Southgate to attack in Germany and backed England for glory

He also urged Gareth Southgate to attack in Germany and backed England for glory

He also urged Gareth Southgate to attack in Germany and backed England for glory

Southgate is about to start his fourth tournament in charge of the Three Lions, but the England boss remains as polarizing as ever.

Having won 58 of 95 matches and taking England to the latter stages of tournaments, he is seen by some as the savior of football in this country and as a coach who has helped the national team reconnect with the audience.

But for others, the former defender is a negative manager who has underperformed with the talent at his disposal.

For Redknapp, he’s somewhere in the middle. “I think Gareth has done a good job,” he says.

‘But he’s had fantastic players, let’s be honest. It was a great time to be England manager.

‘We don’t produce many players in England now, but what we have done is produce a small group of real quality.

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“They are very special and it is now time for us to win a tournament.”

Redknapp speaks to Mail Sport in association with fantasy football game So rare ahead of Euro 2024, with the 77-year-old being called ‘the best manager England never had’ in some quarters.

Under the partnership, users will have the chance to join Redknapp’s fantasy league and prove they can manage the Three Lions by competing directly against him, with each player getting to choose a team of five players.

And while it’s an alien concept, Redknapp is looking forward to the challenge.

“I’ve never played fantasy football or any of these games,” he adds. ‘I’ve always been too busy with the real work.

‘So this is very different, but it’s a lot of fun and I’m looking forward to it.

“You always back yourself to win, but anyone who beats me can put themselves in the race if Gareth quits his job.”

The 77-year-old spoke to Mail Sport after teaming up with fantasy football game Sorare

The 77-year-old spoke to Mail Sport after teaming up with fantasy football game Sorare

The 77-year-old spoke to Mail Sport after teaming up with fantasy football game Sorare

Although Redknapp’s last official managerial role at Birmingham City ended in 2017, his fingerprints are all over the England squad.

At Tottenham he signed a 19-year-old Kyle Walker from Sheffield United, while in 2011 he handed a young striker by the name of Harry Kane his Spurs debut.

“Walker had everything,” Redknapp adds. “He just had incredible speed and power.

‘He could play centre-back or right-back, and even the right side of a three. He is simply a complete all-round footballer and a great defender.

‘He has now also become a leader at Manchester City, so he has done a great job and I am very happy for him.’

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Yet it was not always clear for Kane, who made his Spurs debut in a Europa League qualifier against Hearts in August 2011.

“I’d be lying if I sat here and said I always thought Harry would be the best striker in the world,” Redknapp added.

Redknapp signed a 19-year-old Kyle Walker from Tottenham (pictured right in February 2012)

Redknapp signed a 19-year-old Kyle Walker from Tottenham (pictured right in February 2012)

Redknapp signed a 19-year-old Kyle Walker from Tottenham (pictured right in February 2012)

He also admitted he never thought Harry Kane (pictured in 2012) would become world class

He also admitted he never thought Harry Kane (pictured in 2012) would become world class

He also admitted he never thought Harry Kane (pictured in 2012) would become world class

‘I thought he would be a player but I was with a Norwich fan recently and he said to me that Kane barely came off the bench when he was on loan there.

‘He went to Leicester and barely got a game. But he wanted it, he had a great attitude and he worked, trained, practiced and he just became that kind of player.

‘Harry is a complete striker. He can shoot, head, pass, finish, he works so hard.

‘He just has everything. He’s just a top player, a top player and a great guy.”

Free to play fantasy football game So rare has appointed arguably the best manager England has NEVER had Harry Redknapp. Play this European Championship against Harry in his Rivals League, show off your knowledge from your couch or lounge chair and win incredible prizes, including a meet & greet.

Join Harry’s Sorare League HERE.

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