Roy Hodgson’s resignation as England manager means that one of the least attractive jobs in international football has become available. The poisonous cocktail of a nefarious tabloid media, an unfounded public belief in inevitable glory and an unfortunate collection of average players mean the role of English manager has become a graveyard of sorts for managers.
The list of the country’s recent managers is a roll call of despondency, with Sven Goran Eriksson one of the few to still be in a job with Shanghai SIPG in the Chinese Super League, not exactly where he wants to be one would imagine.
Despite all this, Gareth Southgate – England’s current U21 manager – is widely expected to take over the new role although it is thought that this would not be on a permanent basis. As The Times is reporting, the FA are actually inclined to wait for a the right permanent replacement to become available. And that replacement is none other than Arsene Wenger.
Wenger’s position at Arsenal has come under increased scrutiny, not least after last season. Given the flagging fortunes of their traditional title rivals, one would have expected Arsenal to mount something approaching a serious challenge this year. But they couldn’t.
A 2nd-place finish is misleading in that it masks yet another non-existent title challenge and yet another disappointing season for the Gunners. Such despair adds weight to the claim that, should the FA be able to make the offer sufficiently attractive to the Frenchman, he would be willing to part ways with the London club.
Thinking that the FA would ideally look to appoint an English manager appear wide of the mark in the light of recent remarks by FA Chief Executive Martin Glen, who was quoted by Newsweek as saying: “We will be looking for the best person for the job. We will not be ruling any person out.”
Many have drawn not entirely unfair comparisons between England and Arsenal’s capacity to bottle it on the biggest occasion in the most spectacular way possible. Both teams appear more concerned by the potential pitfalls they face rather than the glories available to them as they contrive to underperform with a grim predictability.
As such, the thinking that Wenger is the man to right these wrongs appears questionable, although the stability and tactical nous he would bring to the side would certainly be a change from England’s recent fare.
On balance, the appointment of the Frenchman would most likely be a positive move by the FA. Having said that, one suspects that the problems faced by the national team are deeper lying and that it is structural change at grassroots level, rather than a rotation of the figurehead of the national side, that is required to make genuine progress.
However, before disgruntled Arsenal supporters get too excited.
FA targeting Wenger. And who can blame them? But Wenger has said many times he’d not take the England job and believe that’s still the case
— John Cross (@johncrossmirror) June 29, 2016
Colm Egan, Pundit Arena
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