Football: Hoddle's job has no appeal, claims Wenger

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The Independent Online
ARSeNE WENGER, the Arsenal coach, last night made it clear he would have no interest whatsoever in taking over the England team if Glenn Hoddle decided to resign. The Double-winning Frenchman, who has been mentioned as a possible replacement if Hoddle walked out or was sacked, said: "I'm not interested in any national team job - especially the England one."

Wenger has still not signed the new four-year deal that has been on the table for him at Highbury for two months but insists it is a formality. He said: "I don't see any benefits in it [the England job]. The job is so sensitive and it is not coherent. How can you enjoy it? I have never been very keen on international football in any case. You get no time to build up any consistency and only a short time to change things because after practically every tournament, like a World Cup, it is nearly impossible to survive in the job. Look what happened this time. Half the national coaches have now gone and those who survived are all under pressure. Two bad games and you could be out - like Berti Vogts with Germany."

Wenger, who convinced Hoddle to take up management when the former Tottenham player was at Monaco, has since seen him hounded by criticism after England's exit from France 98 - and the publication of Hoddle's controversial World Cup diary.

Wenger said: "I'm sorry, of course, for what is happening to Glenn. I have respect for him as a player and a person but he has built his team of people around him with England and doesn't take advice from outside. I am like that at Arsenal."

Meanwhile, the Football Association yesterday confirmed it is keen for Hoddle to start negotiations about signing a new contract as soon as possible. But the FA insists talk of issuing the England coach with an ultimatum is wrong. Hoddle's present deal expires at the end of Euro 2000 and the FA wants him to agree an extension, tying him to the job until the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea.

The FA spokesman, Steve Double, maintained: "The concept that there's some kind of ultimatum over the new contract offer is nonsense."