By Matt Lawton

Harry Redknapp has received his first endorsement for the England job from a senior FA official.

Key FA figure Gartside backs 'outstanding' Redknapp for England job

Bolton chairman Phil Gartside, who is an influential member of the FA board that will rubber stamp the appointment, has said Tottenham boss Redknapp would make ‘an outstanding England manager’.
His backing came as it emerged that the FA are planning a ‘home’ friendly against Italy in Switzerland three days before the start of the Barclays Premier League season — a move that is sure to trigger outrage among club managers.

Gartside is not involved in the initial selection process that will be conducted by the four-man Club England board.

But, in an interview conducted at the Reebok Stadium on Wednesday and due to be broadcast on BBC World Extra Time this weekend, Gartside (below) publicly backed Redknapp, describing the 65-year-old as  ‘a good motivator with a winning mentality’.

If appointed, Redknapp is likely to be immediately caught up in a row over the game against Italy earmarked for Berne’s  32,000-seat Stade de Suisse on August 15.

It will be England’s first meeting with Italy for more than a decade but cannot be held at Wembley because the date set by FIFA is too soon after the Olympics, which end on August 12.

Euro 2012 finishes on July 1 and England will be keen on a warm-up game before the World Cup qualifying campaign gets under way in September with a trip to Moldova and a home game against Ukraine.