'Proud' Speed looks to build for Wales' future

Gary Speed described himself as a "very proud man" yesterday when he was confirmed as the new manager of Wales, just over three months after the departure of John Toshack.

Speed, who won 85 Wales caps, has left his job as manager of Championship side Sheffield United, a role he only started in August. He leaves the club with whom he finished his playing career just one point clear of the relegation zone. He admitted he was torn over leaving the Blades, but said the lure of international management was too strong.

"These things happen in football, where the timing's not always great," Speed said. "I was disappointed to leave Sheffield United because I feel I had a job to do there and was fully committed, but obviously when your country comes calling it's a tough decision you have to make. I feel in my heart it's the right one. To be fair to them, they've been fantastic throughout and made the decision really easy for me."

His role extends beyond merely trying to rescue the current qualification campaign for the 2012 European Championship. Wales are bottom of Group G, in which England are second, having lost all three of their qualifiers so far, but Speed's remit is to look further ahead than just the next 12 months.

"We need to consistently compete on a world stage and not just come close to qualifying every now and again, every 12-15 years," Speed said. "It's my job to make sure the structure in Welsh football is such that we're consistently competing.

"As a player, I've been part of campaigns where we've just missed out. But in between those campaigns there were gaps of eight to 10 years. It's my job to make sure this country develops in a way so we can consistently compete on a world stage."

Speed's first competitive game will be against England at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on 26 March.

Jonathan Ford, the Football Association of Wales chief executive, also stressed the breadth of Speed's role. "Gary's now the manager of footballing Wales, not just of the national team. I see him as the figurehead for football in this country, and of course we want to make sure we put football very much back on the map where it deserves to be."

Brian Flynn, who had been in charge in a caretaker capacity since Toshack's departure, was sad not to have been awarded the job on a full-time basis. "Brian is of course disappointed and gutted not to be appointed as the national team manager," admitted Ford.

News
newsAnother week, another dress controversy on the internet
Life and Style
Scientist have developed a test which predicts whether you'll live for another ten years
health
Life and Style
Marie had fake ID, in the name of Johanna Koch, after she evaded capture by the Nazis in wartime Berlin
historyOne woman's secret life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
News
news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn