Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has admitted for the first time he would be willing to manage England in the future if he had no club commitments.
Wenger has been linked with the England job following the Football Association’s decision to part company with Sam Allardyce on Tuesday.
Allardyce’s self-inflicted exit after his controversial comments to undercover reporters has left the FA searching for a new boss and they have appointed England Under-21 coach Gareth Southgate as interim manager to buy them time.
Southgate will pick the team for England’s remaining four matches this year and could be persuaded to remain in charge until the end of the season if there was a chance to hire a top-class boss like Wenger.
The Frenchman’s contract with Arsenal expires at the end of the current campaign and there has been no confirmation yet of whether the 67-year-old will sign a new deal with the north Londoners.
Quizzed about the England job at a press conference on Friday, Wenger said: “My priority is to do well here. If I am free one day, why not?”
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino also said he wouldn’t rule out taking charge of England, but not for the foreseeable future.
Asked on Friday if he would consider the England job, given that his impressive work in the Premier League with Tottenham and Southampton made him a good candidate, the Argentine said: “Yes, why not? In the future.
“Not now, it’s impossible. I signed a new contract here. It’s not my moment.”
Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe has also found himself linked with the England post, both before Allardyce was hired and now the position is vacant again.
But unlike Wenger and Pochettino, Howe, widely regarded as one of the most promising young English coaches, is less keen on being thrust into the spotlight.
“I don’t enjoy it. For me the reason I wanted to be a football manager was to coach, to build a team, try to win games, have that competition against other teams and inspire players to reach levels they never knew they could hit,” he said.
“All of this side of it gets in the way. My main focus is always the football.
“When you are in the Premier League the games come so quickly, I haven’t given the England job a thought.
“This was an unwelcome thing, it was not something I wanted to see at all.” – Agence France-Presse