Rugby Football Union chief executive Francis Baron has insisted he wants Brian Ashton to remain as England head coach and work with the new team manager.
Baron expects the newly-created management position to be filled by the end of next week, with Martin Johnson hot favourite for the role.
If Johnson does accept the post it will leave Ashton, who guided England to second place in the World Cup and the RBS 6 Nations, in limbo and his future on the England coaching staff in doubt.
Ashton wants a team manager who can share some of the managerial and administrative burden but who will not get involved in rugby affairs.
In December, the RFU’s elite rugby director Rob Andrew confirmed Ashton would play a key role in the appointment.
However, the RFU’s courting of Johnson suggests the ground has moved since the RBS 6 Nations Championship as England’s 2003 World Cup-winning captain is likely to demand complete control.
Baron insisted Ashton will have a role in the new structure - but he also accepted one or more of the coaching team might find their positions untenable.
“Brian has a contract with the RFU. His contract is for the position as head coach and that is his position as we sit here today,” said Baron.
“We are going to strengthen the management structure and there are going to be new appointments and so the overall structure will change, aimed at improving the consistency of England’s performances going forward.
“The coaches have all got to be happy with the new structure. I hope they buy into it and we can move forward together.
“I can’t guarantee that. There are some pretty fiesty individuals on the coaching team who will express strong views, no doubt.
“Somebody might say ‘I don’t want to work with this bloke’. In my view, it is their call.”
Baron refused to confirm specific details of the team manager’s job description, or when the focus shifted from an administrative candidate to a more hands-on rugby appointment.
Twickenham’s top brass are making changes to the structure after being alarmed by England’s inconsistency at the World Cup and during the RBS 6 Nations.
RFU chairman Martyn Thomas said: “There are no prizes in life for coming second and the RFU is determined to drive England back to where we believe it should be. Our goal and ambition has to always be number one in the world.”
Andrew is set to present his team manager proposal to a specially convened RFU management board meeting next week, which would then have to ratify the selection.
Wales stormed to the Grand Slam this year after appointing Warren Gatland as the top man and providing him with the opportunity to appoint his own coaching staff.
But Baron insisted England’s new team manager would not be given a “blank cheque” to take the same approach - and he warned Andrew that any candidate making such demands would receive short shrift from the management board.
“It is important when someone new comes in they have an opportunity to mould the team going forward. But my philosophy is evolution not revolution,” said Baron.