Jim Mallinder right for England manager says Matt Dawson

Former England scrum-half Matt Dawson thinks Northampton director of rugby Jim Mallinder would be the right man to replace ex-England boss Martin Johnson.

Johnson, 41, quit his role in the wake of England's World Cup quarter-final exit and several player discipline issues off the pitch.

"I would love to see Jim Mallinder and [fellow Northampton coach] Dorian West," Dawson told BBC Sport.

"It would have been lovely to have Martin Johnson just above them."

Former Saints star Dawson added: "I'm sure there will be plenty of Northampton fans who won't thank me for saying that but they, to me, are the best England coaches.

"They have nurtured a really good Northampton side, they've been to European Cup finals, won domestic trophies and they've been top of the league and [Jim] knows how to deal with the day-to-day running of rugby players."

Mallinder, 45, who has already declared his interest in taking over at the England helm, took his side to last season's Heineken Cup final, losing 33-22 to Leinster.

The former full-back played twice for England in 1997 and coached England Saxons between 2006 and 2007, winning 15 of his 16 matches in charge, including a victory over New Zealand Maori in the final of the Churchill Cup.

New Zealand's World Cup-winning coach Graham Henry is also a contender, but another likely candidate, former Italy boss Nick Mallett, has ruled himself out.

Johnson explained his decision on Wednesday, saying he wanted to step down while he still had a choice in the matter.

Dawson believes that England did not get the best out of the 2003 World Cup-winning captain during his three-and-a-half years in charge.

"I would certainly have liked him to have carried on," Dawson added. "It's been a very tough three years for Martin Johnson but let's not forget you don't just walk into the job and win the World Cup.

"The experience that he has gained, not just with all the hullabaloo that's been going on off the field, but on the field as well, there is just too much experience and knowledge in Martin Johnson not to be used.

"I maybe don't know quite which guise the RFU could have used him in, maybe more of a specific manager role, but I think it's a real shame we have lost him.

"I think he should have been given more time. It is a difficult one because he chose his own coaching staff - he inherited a little bit of the coaching staff as well - I would just have liked to have seen him with a world-class coaching set-up.

"I would have liked to have seen him with a little bit more backing from the RFU, a little bit more support with the PR of the whole World Cup, for example, and use his strengths, because that's where we would have got the most out of him."

Speaking on Radio 5 live, Dawson also criticised the RFU's director of elite rugby Rob Andrew for his performance in the press conference which confirmed Johnson's departure.

Dawson said: "We should be able to discuss what role Rob Andrew has, and what he has done badly. And simply nobody knows. That is not good enough.

"For him to say the things he did in his press conference - referring to Martin Johnson straight away when asked about his own future - was an absolute disgrace. He's not just in a hole, he's in the middle of a volcano."