England’s search for a successor to Roy Hodgson has seen them linked with a number of candidates from round the world, but they want to talk to a manager much closer to home.
The Telegraph (in a collaborative effort from reporters Sam Wallace, Jason Burt and Matt Law) aretonight reporting that the Football Association are to sound out Arsenal boss Arsène Wenger with regards his interest (or lack thereof) in managing the England national team.
The FA recruitment team of Martin Glenn, David Gill and Dan Ashworth have outlined clear criteria for who they want as the next England manager, but being English is not vital. They are insisting on the new manager having a solid grasp of the English language and having Premier League experience – Wenger gits the bill in both regards.
Wenger has not fully distanced himself from the possibility of replacing Hodgson, which the FA will surely take encouragement from.
Managers such as Sam Allardyce, Jurgen Klinsmann and Glenn Hoddle have all been linked with the role since Hodgson resigned in the wake of England’s humiliating Euro 2016 exit, but Wenger would represent a massive step above all three of them – with only Guus Hiddink (who has signalled his interest in the role) even coming close to the Frenchman’s achievements.
With one year remaining on Wenger’s contract, the FA are keen to find out if he would consider taking charge of the team when he is a free agent next summer, or if he plans to extend his current deal at Arsenal.
If he does indicate a willingness to leave the Emirates next year, plans will be made to appoint a caretaker in the role to oversee a large part of the team’s qualifying campaign for the 2018 World Cup. Current under-21 boss Gareth Southgate does not want the role, but there are a number of English coaches who would have no problem operating in such a system.
Much will depend on the next few weeks. The report states that Wenger has not committed to a new deal at Arsenal, but at the same time would need to wait a few months into the new season before determining whether or not he is to stay on past 2017.
The FA, however, would want an answer within the next few weeks so they can plan their next move and hire a caretaker before the qualifying campaign begins in September.
If he does turn them down, the FA’s recruitment team will press ahead with plans to appoint a full time manager to take the job immediately.