Appoint an Englishman, Wenger to advise FA

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The Independent Online

Arsene Wenger is to meet Brian Barwick, the chief executive of the Football Association, in the coming days and the message the Arsenal manager will deliver is that the England team needs an Englishman in charge of it.

Wenger declined to say who he would be recommending to Barwick but even though his tone was playful, the underlying theme was serious.

Speaking at St James' Park last night after Arsenal's 1-1 draw with Newcastle United, Wenger said: "I am not even English but I am the most nationalistic of the lot of you. You are off chasing [Jose] Mourinho or [Fabio] Capello and I am the only one saying the manager of England should be an Englishman.

"But I cannot tell you which Englishman [Wenger will recommend]. I am like a doctor, I have a confidentiality clause. I can't speak for the FA."

The FA is searching for a successor to Steve McClaren, whose tenure ended when England failed to qualify for Euro 2008 following their defeat by Croatia two weeks ago.

Wenger was coy on when he and Barwick will meet but said it has not happened yet. Barwick is in the midst of a consultation process in which he will eventually speak to leading figures in England such as Sir Alex Ferguson, Sir Bobby Robson and others as well as Wenger.

The former England manager Glenn Hoddle learned the art of coaching under the guidance of Wenger at Monaco but whether the former Spurs winger would be recommended by the Arsenal manager to the FA is doubtful. Hoddle, however, refuses to rule out a return to the role of national team manager.

The 50-year-old is currently running a development programme in Spain for young players who have been released by their clubs. Hoddle, who led the national side to the 1998 World Cup before his sacking for comments about disabled people, said: "I wouldn't do [the England job] at the moment because of this development. In saying that, possibly the two could go hand in hand. But this is a passion I have set in motion. In the long-term future, who knows?"

Hoddle will be consulted by Barwick as part of his canvassing and Hoddle said: "We haven't spoken but I know him from TV days. There are some things that need to be addressed. They need to tap into that vast experience, and there is no one better than the people who have been in the job. I felt dreadfully sorry for Steve he took a terrible battering. If you look at the quality of the players that were missing... it's like sending Ricky Hatton out with one arm behind his back."

Hoddle also believes he was treated unfairly and received little support from the FA in the face of intense press attention, who he claims offer more leniency to foreign managers.

"I wouldn't have lost my job if Graham Kelly had still been there and Keith Wiseman who appointed me. But they had been shifted out themselves," Hoddle added. "I think the press give a foreign manager a bit more time and leniency. My experience was so unjust. It's the greatest job football-wise, it's the worst in the world public-wise."

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