The FA have approached West Brom manager Roy Hodgson with an offer to coach the English national team, according to a report in the Telegraph. The report adds that FA chairman David Bernstein has already been in contact with Hodgson after the administrative body submitted a formal request to the club.
The choice is a surprising one, given that all the rumours and speculations, as well as all the comments from fans, players and experts had pointed to the appointment of Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp as the replacement for Fabio Capello, who quit the post in February following disagreements with the FA.
Hodgson will reportedly take charge of first team affairs, immediately after the league season concludes, on 13 May. He will take over from interim manager Stuart Pearce and will be expected to prepare a 23-man squad for two forthcoming friendlies and, of course, the summer's 2012 European Championships in Poland and Ukraine.
"Roy is the only manager we have approached and we remain on course to make an appointment within the timescale we set out," Bernstein said in a statement released by the FA, adding, "I'm grateful to Jeremy and all at West Bromwich Albion for their co-operation in allowing us to approach Roy, who I have since spoken with. Further conversations will now take place with Roy and my Club England colleagues before any further announcements can be made."
It is understood those negotiations will take place between Hodgson, Bernstein and three other members - Sir Trevor Brooking - the FA's director of football development, Alex Horne - FA general secretary and Adrian Bevington - managing director of Club England.
The decision to appoint Hodgson, however, has not gone down well at all, with strong criticism from both fans and pundits.
"With the greatest respect, there's not going to be a great wave of excitement about the appointment of Roy," Mark Perryman, of the England Supporters Club said, in a report by the Sun, which also quoted pundit Mark Lawrenson as saying he believed Hodgson was the FA's "second choice".
"I think Harry would have been approached and spoken to at some stage. I think Harry has actually said, 'You know what, I've had a long hard season, I don't really want to manage England at this time'," Lawrenson explained.
However, it should be considered that Hodgson has experience managing international sides, something Redknapp does not. He has already led Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates and Finland.
Hodgson has received support from former Arsenal player Alan Smith, who called him a "proud Englishman" and from former Liverpool and Aston Villa player Stan Collymore, who posted on Twitter: "I'd be happy-ish to have Roy manage England."
"He has got an extensive managerial career and successful one as well. The most important thing is he has already managed international teams in Switzerland - where he enjoyed success - and Finland." Smith explained.
Hodgson himself has asked for the support of fans after news of the approach was made public.
"I would hope if I was offered the England job, it would be with the backing of the important people - the fans and media. It's going to be very difficult for anyone who has not got their backing. Even if you've the competence and are maybe the right person, you need to be perceived as the right person. It's important you have the fans' support," he said, according to another report in the Sun.
Moreover, according to the Sun, Hodgson's work for UEFA over the last 16 years could prove a decisive factor at the summer's tournament. Hodgson has, in fact, been to every European Championships since 1996 and compiled dossiers on the top countries.
"I enjoy international football because you are working with the best players," Hodgson once said.
Meanwhile, Redknapp would say little about the appointment, except to say he wished Hodgson well and could "see his future at Tottenham".