Football: FA cautious about 'offer' to Wenger

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The Independent Online
The Football Association reacted cautiously yesterday to reports that Arsene Wenger has been offered the job of Technical Director by Glenn Hoddle.

The new England coach credits Wenger, his coach at Monaco, with inspiring him to enter management. However, while Hoddle can influence the appointment of the new coaching overlord, he does not have the power to make it.

The official FA line is that it is "still searching", as it has been doing for close to a year, for the right man to shape the future of English football. There is "significant enthusiasm" for Wenger but he has yet to be formally approached, let alone interviewed.

One problem is that the 45-year-old Frenchman is under contract to the end of November to Grampus Eight, the club he coaches in Japan's J-League. The other is that he may not want it.

Having admitted Hoddle had asked him if he was interested, Wenger said: "I am not sure if it is what I want to do. I like working with players, this is more of a background role."

The FA has already been turned down by two former national coaches - Scotland's Andy Roxburgh, now Uefa's technical director, and France's Gerard Houllier, who is involved in preparations for the 1998 World Cup. Two other candidates, Howard Wilkinson and Dario Gradi, have lost support while Terry Venables was never seriously considered a contender, by either him or the FA.

The job is currently held by Don Howe, the technical co-ordinator, but the FA, having filled the posts of the England coach and FA chairman, is keen to end the uncertainty and complete its senior management team as soon as possible.