Football Association chairman David Bernstein says the next England manager will ideally be English or British but must above all be "the best person" available.
The confirmation that the FA will consider overseas candidates, or even Scottish, Irish or Welsh candidates, may be seen as surprising, given it was widely expected that they would train the focus on finding the best English candidate available.
Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp has emerged as the favourite for the post since Fabio Capello quit on Wednesday night, and with his East End roots the 64-year-old would fit the bill if nationality is a priority.
Stuart Pearce, the England Under-21 and Great Britain Olympic team boss, has been put in caretaker charge for the friendly against Holland on February 29.
But when asked if the new manager would be English, Bernstein said at a Wembley press conference: "No, he will not definitely be English.
"Clearly there's a preference for an Englishman. The position hasn't changed.
"There's a preference for an English person or a British person but in the end we want the best person.
"So I'm not prepared to rule out anything at this stage.
"Clearly an English or British person would have a good start on the matter."
Bernstein said the FA was "open-minded" when it comes to the appointment of the next boss, and did not rule out an initial part-time role.
He said: "We don't want to rush anything. There's no need to rush. We'll give it proper consideration and it'll have high priority."
Sitting alongside FA general secretary Alex Horne, director of football development Sir Trevor Brooking and England managing director Adrian Bevington, Bernstein said: "It'll be dealt with by the four of us. We've cleared diaries (for Friday) to start working on this."
Bernstein explained the search for a new boss was in its very early stage.
He said: "I don't want to pretend we've got plans in hand at this moment in time that we haven't got. But we'll be moving fast to get our ducks in the right boat."
Bernstein was keen not to get drawn into speculation over who could replace Capello in the long term, but promised the FA would act as swiftly as possible.
"I'm not going to go into discussions on individuals," he said.
"We will do this as quickly and sensibly as we can but don't want to rush the process. We want to to it properly, do it professionally.
"We will put a shortlist together of key people. We will do it as soon as we can. It will be a major priority for us."
Bernstein was confident England's preparations for this summer's European Championships in Poland and Ukraine remained on track.
"We are in very good shape in many ways," he said.
"The organisational matters for the Euros are in place - our base camp, training camp and all else. There's plenty of time. The squad won't get together until May so there is time for a new man to get in place and do what he needs to do building up to the competition.
"I think we're actually in a much better place than we appear to be."
Bernstein said it was important that the new manager was favoured by England fans, adding also that the new man would be allowed to select his own captain.
"We want to make an appointment that the public are positive about, but we can't be driven by that," he said.
"We have to do this professionally and with an open mind, but certainly with the desire and wishes of the fans.
"They (the fans) are crucial to us.
"I would expect an experienced top man to pick up the reins very quickly.
"The new manager will make his appointment as captain."
The Club England directors were under pressure to explain the circumstances of Capello's departure which came after he criticised the decision to strip Chelsea defender John Terry of the England captaincy.
The decision was made, Bernstein said unanimously by the board, after Terry's trial for racially abusing QPR defender Anton Ferdinand was postponed until after Euro 2012. Terry denies the charges.
"We all believed that the John Terry case would be dealt with in March or April," Bernstein said.
"When it was postponed we were taken by surprise like everybody else was taken by surprise.
"The board made a very quick and unanimous decision regarding the captaincy. I informed Fabio on Thursday evening as soon as the decision had been made. Fabio wasn't happy but he accepted the board's authority in the matter.
"On Sunday Fabio conducted an interview with an Italian broadcaster. That caused conjecture and huge public debate and frankly it was an unsatisfactory situation."
Club England managing director Adrian Bevington, who it was reported had disagreed with the decision to strip Terry of the captaincy, was asked if this was the case.
He told the press conference: "It was a board decision and we are all collective in supporting the board's decision. I am an employee of the organisation and I support the decision."
Bernstein dismissed suggestions the board should have stripped Terry as soon as he was charged.
He said: "We got it absolutely right. Until the court's decision to postpone it until after the Euros we did feel the best solution here was for the court.
"Once that changed it changed the whole dynamic.
"The FA board felt clearly that with the nature of the England captaincy going into a European championships with this issue overhanging what was not what we wanted."
Bernstein refused to reveal whether there had been any kind of payment to Capello.
And he denied the appointment of Mr Capello had been an expensive mistake. "It was certainly expensive, but nobody could argue that it was a mistake," he said. "He has been a great manager."
Redknapp, who was cleared yesterday of tax evasion charges, today played down talk of him stepping in to guide the England team at Euro 2012.
Redknapp said on Sky News: "I've not even thought about it. I've got a job to do.
"I've got a big game on Saturday for Tottenham. Tottenham is my focus."
Tottenham face Newcastle at the weekend, and Redknapp insists all his attention is on that fixture.
Asked whether he could help out England this summer, Redknapp said: "They (the Football Association) will make whatever decision they want to make.
"Hopefully it'll be the right decision for the country but my focus is all on Tottenham."
Capello's decision to walk away caught many, including Redknapp, by surprise.
Redknapp said: "I was shocked. I was surprised. I didn't expect that to happen.
"We knew he was going to leave in the summer. I didn't expect it to happen now."
Rio Ferdinand took a farewell swipe at Capello as he joined Wayne Rooney in endorsing Redknapp to become England's new manager.
The Manchester United and England defender said the national team "don't need anything else lost in translation", an apparent dig at Capello, whose poor command of the English language saw him face criticism during his four years in charge.
Former England captain Ferdinand wrote on Twitter: "I think we need an English manager now, we don't need anything else lost in translation....Harry Redknapp would be my choice by a distance."
Striker Rooney wrote on Twitter last night: "Gutted capello has quit. Good guy and top coach. Got to be english to replace him. Harry redknapp for me."
Some will miss Capello, with defender Glen Johnson writing on Twitter this morning: "Sad news to see Capello step down. Good man and a Good manager. £ThanksForEverything."
Sir Keith Mills, a non-executive director at Tottenham, says the club will wait to see what develops regarding Redknapp and the England job.
"I think we're jumping the gun a little bit here," Mills told BBC Radio Five Live.
"Whether Harry will be approached is not a foregone conclusion.
"If he is, then Harry has got a big decision to make."