Sir Trevor Brooking has slammed attempts to 'destabilise' the search for England's next manager amid reports of a major bust-up with Brian Barwick.
Between them, Brooking, the Football Association's director of football development, and chief executive Barwick have been tasked with the job of finding Steve McClaren's successor.
Having just completed an extensive consultation process ahead of making contact with likely candidates, Brooking believes it is extremely unhelpful incorrect suggestions have been made that he is barely on speaking terms with Barwick over the appointment of an English-born coach.
'Brian and I are extremely annoyed at what appears to be an effort to destabilise our work together to find the next England manager,' said Brooking.
'There is no disagreement on who the next England manager should be. In fact, we are agreed on the way forward.
'We are both totally committed to working together to find the right man for the job.'
With Jose Mourinho, Fabio Capello, Marcello Lippi, Jurgen Klinsmann and Ulsterman Martin O'Neill the current bookies' favourites, there appears next to no chance of the `right man' being English, although the FA have confirmed they want a home-based coach to be part of the new management team.
Mourinho remains the most popular choice to lead that team and amid reports he had flown into London for talks with Barwick, the former Chelsea boss emerged from his home in Setubal and continued a game of cat-and-mouse which leaves no-one clear about his intentions.
Rather than either commit to the job - as Capello did almost as soon as McClaren was dumped - or reject the idea of it, as some fear the 44-year-old will to pursue a career in club management, Mourinho again skirted around the issue.
'Why not?' was his reply when asked if he could be the next England manager by Sky Sports.
Mourinho then went on to reveal he had cancelled a trip to the UK with his family because he felt no-one would believe he had travelled merely with the intention of doing some Christmas shopping.
It appears only a matter of time before contact is made with Mourinho and Capello, while Barwick, a long-time admirer of O'Neill, will probably want to establish whether the Aston Villa manager's public distancing himself from the job is replicated in private as well.
Probably the only man capable of matching Mourinho in the popularity stakes, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, simply cannot understand why the FA are so intent on recruiting a foreign boss.
Citing Harry Redknapp, Sam Allardyce, Steve Coppell and even Gareth Southgate among a list of potential candidates, Wenger maintains his belief international management should be the exclusive preserve of coaches from that particular country.
'Club and country are two different things,' he said.
'Look at the example of Ryan Giggs. He never played in a World Cup even though he is one of the best players in the world.
'The national team does not play with a Portuguese player or an Italian player in your team, so why should suddenly the leader be foreign.'