The Wales manager’s contract expires at the end of the tournament and negotiations over a new deal will not resume until after this international break, but Coleman insisted there was no reason for anyone to question his commitment or focus.
Coleman, 45, addressed his own position, and the implications of no agreement being reached prior to the tournament starting, after it was put to him that Michael O’Neill, whose Northern Ireland side take on Wales in Cardiff on Thursday, has recently signed a new four-year contract and spoken about the “stability going into the finals” that a long-term deal gives. Coleman believes the question of whether he signs a contract before the finals in France should not make any difference.
“There are already rumours outside of the camp about this, that and the other because the contract is not agreed, I can’t help that, nobody can,” Coleman said. “All I can say is that I am totally focused on Wales, totally committed as I’ve always been, looking forward to these games coming up and it’s all about building towards this tournament, which is what we have always worked so hard at to get to. That’s all that matters.
“If you are a Welsh player, playing in tournament football, you have waited so long, you have worked so hard, dreamed about it, you can’t then go: ‘But there is something else happening, the manager is not …’ It’s about getting in the team, representing Wales and producing the goods.
“Let’s say I wasn’t going to be the Wales manager, I’m not going to go before the tournament starts. If, God forbid, I’m not the Welsh manager it will be at the end of the tournament. I’m not saying that is going to be the case. I’m here now, looking forward to what’s coming.”
The fixture against England in Lens on 16 June looms large on the horizon, with all the Battle of Britain hype that will go with that game, but Coleman made the point that he will not be scrutinising Roy Hodgson’s side as closely as Slovakia and Russia, their other Group B opponents, because he knows the manager and his players so well.
“We won’t look at England as much, we would never be disrespectful to a team of their quality but we know all about them, we see them play every week,” said Coleman, who will be without Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey for both the visit of Northern Ireland and Monday’s game against Ukraine in Kiev.
“I know Roy and Ray Lewington [England’s assistant manager] very well. We have seen them many times, they don’t do things so differently. We will do our homework and due diligence but it is not a team we will need to maybe scrutinise like Slovakia and Russia because we know a little bit less about them.”
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