Hoddle on verge of international return as Jamaica beckons

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The Independent Football

Glenn Hoddle appears set to return to football - as the new coach of Jamaica. The former England manager is expected to travel to the Caribbean in a few days' time to discuss terms with the Jamaican Football Federation.

Hoddle is on a two-man short-list along with Jose Pekerman, who resigned as Argentina's coach after the World Cup and who will be interviewed next week. However, it is believed that, despite Pekerman's impressive track record, the Jamaicans favour appointing Hoddle because he is English-speaking, has a higher profile and is based in Europe where the majority of their players are.

The Jamaicans had hoped to appoint another coach who left his post after the tournament in Germany, Sven Goran Eriksson, and were prepared to pay him up to £3m a year. However, they have grown impatient as the Swede has stalled on making a decision while attempting to sort out his future with a club.

Hoddle, 49 next month, will be paid substantially less than what was on offer for Eriksson but is understood to be extremely keen to take up the post, as it offers him a route back into international management, after his decision to quit Wolverhampton Wanderers this summer. The JFF would also not prevent him from combining it with a club job if he eventually received another approach.

Jamaica have been looking for some time and had initially offered the position to John Barnes, who was born on the island. However, the former England and Liverpool winger, whose management career stalled after a short spell at Celtic, delayed making a decision.

Jamaica then decided to approach a number of more experienced coaches and drew up a short-list. They held talks with the representatives of Eriksson and Hoddle, Luiz Felipe Scolari, who has since agreed a contract extension with Portugal, Carlos Alberto Parreira, who has instead decided to become South Africa's new coach, and the Dutch Under-21 coach Foppe De Haan.

Hoddle's brief will be clear. The Jamaicans are desperate to qualify for the next World Cup in South Africa in 2010 having seen the success, both on and off the field, in commercial income and increased profile, enjoyed by Trinidad & Tobago this summer.

The Jamaican government is taking a keen interest in the appointment and there have been discussions about whether they will help fund a new coach as part of an overhaul of the sport.

Jamaica also believe there are strong cultural and political reasons to qualify as it will be the first World Cup held in Africa. They last qualified for the tournament in France 1998 - when Hoddle led England.

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