Football: Wenger: `Go for an Englishman'

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The Independent Online
ARSENAL'S double-winning manager, Arsene Wenger, last night ruled himself out of contention for the England manager's job and advised the Football Association to pick an Englishman to replace Glenn Hoddle.

His comments were in direct contrast to those of David Sheepshanks, a leading member of the FA committee who will select the new man. Sheepshanks yesterday refused to rule out choosing a foreigner, saying that England would go for the best person available.

Wenger, the overseas manager with the most successful record in England, said he believes the Football Association's next choice for the job must be experienced, aged over 50, and English.

"I personally think England must have an English manager because it is a big country with a big passion for football and people identify better with a guy from their own country. For me it would be difficult to explain to somebody why a country of 50 million people cannot find one in their own right."

Sheepshanks, the Ipswich chairman who has been touted as a future chairman of the FA, has said that non-English managers should be considered. A leading member of the FA international sub-committee charged with drawing up a shortlist, Sheepshanks would prefer to appoint an English- born manager but added: "I believe that we should not unnecessarily restrict ourselves from selecting from all of the highest calibre of candidates."

Tim Flowers has asked Blackburn for a transfer, and could join Aston Villa, who will lose Marc Bosnich in June when his contract ends. Flowers is apparently at the top of their list of possible replacements. Flowers said he did not want to "hang around too long as a No 2." He added: "That's no disrespect to anyone here."

Rovers would want around pounds 2.5m for a goalkeeper who was once Britain's most expensive when he was bought during Kenny Dalglish's reign.

The possible signing of Flowers is another topic of conversion that will irritate Villa's manager, John Gregory. He said yesterday how tired he was of discussing things other than matches and, in particular, Stan Collymore. Gregory has a `take it or leave it' attitude to the striker and said: "If he comes back and gets his head down and gets on with his job and does enough to justify him being in the team, he will play. There is no problem. But I do not want to talk any more about Stan Collymore."

The Croatian international Silvio Maric arrived on Tyneside yesterday to complete his pounds 3.5m move to Newcastle.

Lawrie Sanchez, the former Wimbledon player, was last night named manager of Second Division Wycombe.