Arsène Wenger has revealed he is open to the idea of managing England after he has left Arsenal but delivered the news the Football Association did not want by making it clear he would not contemplate bringing forward his departure.
Wenger would be the FA’s first-choice candidate to replace Roy Hodgson if a way could be found to lever him out of his club role but the Arsenal manager has a contract until the end of next season and, speaking for the first time about his potential availability, he acknowledged that the timing was not right.
“Could I manage England?‚“ Wenger said. “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.
“England is my second country. I was absolutely on my knees when England went out against Iceland. I couldn’t believe it. But when you watched the game you could sense, after 60 minutes, that the worst could happen. Did they panic or were they tired? I don’t know, but England couldn’t find an answer to what Iceland posed.”
The FA had initially hoped the England Under-21s’ manager, Gareth Southgate, could be appointed on an interim basis, with Wenger to be approached about taking over in 2017. That plan was abandoned after Southgate informed the relevant people he did not want the role and the FA is now working through a list of candidates prominently featuring Jurgen Klinsmann and Sam Allardyce.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010