West Bromwich Albion manager Roy Hodgson is to begin talks with the Football Association about becoming the next England football manager.
Hodgson currently manages West Bromwich Albion - the club confirmed permission had been granted for talks to open.
The move has stunned the English game as Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp was widely expected to get the job, following the resignation of Fabio Capello in February.
The FA approached West Brom on Saturday and were given permission to speak to Hodgson, who is likely to be appointed on a long-term basis.
The four-man panel, which will decide who takes over from Capello, is made up of Bernstein, FA General Secretary Alex Horne, FA Director of Football Development Sir Trevor Brooking and Managing Director of Club England Adrian Bevington.
West Brom chairman Jeremy Peace said: "The club are currently in negotiations with Roy about a new contract - his current deal ends on 30 June - and remain very keen to bring these talks to a successful conclusion.
"However, Roy has expressed a desire to explore this opportunity and, accordingly, the club have granted him permission to speak to the FA.
"Roy has done a fantastic job over the past 15 months and the fact the FA want to discuss the England role with him is testament to that.
"However, we have emphasised to Roy how much we would like him to remain as our head coach and continue his major contribution to our project at the Hawthorns as we look to establish ourselves as a Barclays Premier League club."
Only manager approached
It is still possible that Hodgson will say no to the England job but that seems unlikely as he has said in the past it would be "a tremendous honour".
With his West Brom contract almost up, Hodgson would command barely any compensation, another factor which may just have helped the FA reach its decision.
FA chairman David Bernstein said: "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.
"Roy is the only manager we have approached and we remain on course to make an appointment within the timescale we set out soon after Fabio Capello's departure."
Hodgson has built up an impressive CV, which includes spells in the international game with Switzerland, Finland and the United Arab Emirates.
He has also managed Fulham and Liverpool.