Who will replace Martin Johnson as England coach?

Martin Johnson stepped down as England coach earlier today and speculation is already underway amongst rugby betting pundits with regards to his replacement.

Reflecting on Johnson's dismissal slightly before looking at the potential candidates to take the role of England team manager, it is worth looking at what the departing Johnson said about his resignation.

He said: "I think it is in the best interests of both the England team and myself not to carry on."

"I have a choice at the moment. If I hadn't made that decision someone may have made it for me."

The Rugby Football Union director Rob Andrew - who agreed that it was time for Johnson to leave - said that he would remain in his position.

The former England international said: "I'm absolutely not considering resigning. In terms of the department and the structure of the professional game - that's my role in this."

"My job is to run the department, not just the playing side of things."

So, who is in line to replace Johnson? Well, there are plenty of options and the betting market is already open. 

The favourite at this stage is Northampton Saints coach Jim Mallinder. He has already said he would be interested in the position and can be backed at 3/1 with Skybet to succeed Johnson.

Second favourite is New Zealand World Cup winning coach Graham Henry. If you think he will be up for the challenge of turning around England's performances, you can back this at 4/1 with bet365.

The next three candidates are Nick Mallett, Joe Schmidt and John Kirwan, all of whom can be backed with betting odds between 4/1 and 10/1.

Then comes the outsiders, led by former Ireland international Conor O'Shea. He can be backed at 25/1 with Boylesports to lead England.

Brian Ashton is then 50/1 with some betting pundits to return to the role, with Clive Woodward an even more unlikely 100/1 with Sportingbet.

Quite simply, there are a lot of options and the selection could come from anywhere! Who are you backing?

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