Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger has been the surprise front runner for the vacant England job since the departure of Roy Hodgson last month. Now however, it seems the French man has put the brakes on a move across town to Wembley, at least for now.
Perhaps the greatest shock of the recently concluded European Championships was England’s loss to international footballing minnows Iceland in the last 16 of the competition.
Such was the garrotting received by the Three Lions by the expectant fans and media that at the end of the 2-1 defeat, manager Roy Hodgson promptly fell on his sword and resigned.
As the tournament rumbled on, back home in England speculation began in earnest around who would succeed Hodgson. Early front runners included Gareth Southgate, Wenger and Jürgen Klinsmann. While Southgate ruled himself out early and the Klinsmann links have amounted to nothing, Wenger has been continually linked with the job.
With a year left to run on his current contract with Arsenal, Wenger, when asked initially, expressed an interest in the role. However, while speaking to The Guardian, the veteran manager admits the timing is just not right.
“Could I manage England? Why not? I would never rule that out, but I am happy and focused in club football. I have one more year to go with Arsenal and I have been with them for a long time.”
“I have always respected all my contracts and will continue to do that. What will I do after that? Honestly, I don’t know.”
It is understood that FA chief executive Martin Glenn has been keen to tempt Wenger away from the Emirates and take the helm in Wembley now, but based on the comments made by the Premier League’s longest serving manager, it appears that Glenn will now have to either wait for his number one target or look elsewhere for a new manager.
Gary Brennan, Pundit Arena