Flynn set for caretaker role as Wales manager

It looked as if the Football Association of Wales had decided to buy itself time last night as reports emerged that it had asked Brian Flynn to take charge of the national team for next month's Euro 2012 qualifiers against Bulgaria and Switzerland.

For the moment, the 54-year-old Wales Under-21 coach will only be in temporary charge, but he could become John Toshack's permanent replacement.

That would be the logical choice should the FAW decide to build on Toshack's policy of promoting young players. Many of the 43 players he capped in his six-year reign have been under Flynn's care, including 14 of the squad in Montenegro last week.

However, should the FAW feel Toshack's vision was flawed, and seek a new direction, Flynn is unlikely to be chosen. Instead John Hartson, who publicly covets the job, Chris Coleman and Ryan Giggs are more credible candidates.

Giggs was yesterday urged to take the job by Mark Hughes, his former Manchester United team-mate who himself began his management career with Wales, but Sir Alex Ferguson insisted that Giggs would not accept an offer.

Flynn, who was interviewed but rejected in favour of Toshack when Hughes resigned in 2004, will oversee the team for the home tie against Bulgaria on Friday, 8 October, and the trip to Switzerland four days later.

As a player, Flynn overcame his lack of stature (he is 5ft 2in) to have a successful career in midfield, primarily with Burnley and Leeds, winning 66 caps for Wales. He subsequently managed Wrexham, winning promotion, and Swansea, before taking charge of the Welsh Under-21 team six years ago. He has been largely successful given the limited resources available to him.

Club managers Tony Pulis (Stoke City), Gary Speed (Sheffield United) and Kenny Jackett (Millwall) have ruled themselves out, and yesterday Ferguson added Giggs to that group on his behalf. "I spoke to him. It will not happen," said Ferguson. "It is impossible to do both [play for Manchester United and manage Wales]," he said. Hughes had said, in reference to Giggs, "For me it was the best thing I ever did – it enabled me to become the manager I am now because it's a huge learning curve. As a learning experience for a young manager it's fantastic."

* The United States Football Federation is on the brink of withdrawing from the contest to stage the 2018 World Cup leaving only European bids in contention. Sunil Gulati, USSF president, said: "I acknowledge there is a sentiment that 2018 should be in Europe. If we think it is in our best interests to withdraw, we will."

Fifa's inspection team, which is considering bids to host the 2018 and 2022 tournaments, is currently in the US.

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