Coleman turns down Wales to stay at Fulham

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Fulham boss Chris Coleman today called for the appointment of a Welshman as Mark Hughes' successor national coach after ruling himself out of contention for the position.

Fulham boss Chris Coleman today called for the appointment of a Welshman as Mark Hughes' successor national coach after ruling himself out of contention for the position.

The Football Association of Wales are actively searching for a new manager after Hughes' reign came to an end after Wednesday night's 3-2 World Cup qualifying defeat by Poland.

Hughes' decision to join Blackburn has left the FAW with a massive void to fill and so far Gerard Houllier, John Toshack, Gary Speed, Ian Rush and Brian Flynn have been linked with the vacancy.

Houllier has the best credentials but Coleman, a former Wales skipper who made 32 international appearances, insists it is essential Hughes' eventual successor hails from the principality.

"I'd like a Welshman to be given the job.

We're a passionate nation and a Welshman should be put in charge because he'd understand the way we are," said the 34-year-old.

"I know who has been mentioned to take the job but I would like to see the manager of Wales being Welsh.

" Wales skipper Gary Speed, who retired from international football after Wednesday's loss, would be a popular choice but his club Bolton have attempted to block any such move by slapping a £750,000 price tag on his head.

Speed's lack of experience also counts against the midfielder and Coleman has warned his friend and former Wales team-mate that it would take an outstanding candidate to emulate Hughes.

"I don't know who will get the job.

Gary Speed has been mentioned but Bolton have got something to say about that," he said.

"When Mark Hughes took the job over he went from player to manager and did it with ease.

But Mark is an exceptional man.

He made it look easy and it's not.

" Coleman's success at Craven Cottage since taking over the managerial reins in April 2003 also makes him an ideal choice and he was reportedly on the FAW's wish list this morning.

But the Barclays Premiership's youngest manager, who guided Fulham to their highest ever finish in the top flight last season, has pledged his immediate future to his current employers.

"I'm flattered to be linked with the Wales job.

I'm a passionate Welshman who loved playing for his country and managing the national side is something I'd love to do one day," he said.

"But I'm not ready for it yet and I don't want to do it because I'm loving every minute of being at Fulham."

"Everybody wants to manage in the Premiership.

Much as I'd love to do the Wales job I know where my bread is buttered and I'm in a great position at Fulham.

" Coleman feels a strong sense of loyalty to club chairman Mohamed Al Fayed for giving him his chance to shine in the Premiership and he vowed he would not walk out on the Harrods boss.

"If I was to leave then I'd be giving the chairman a slap in the face, which I would never do because he has stuck by me.

"He gave me the opportunity to manage in the Premiership when a lot of other chairmen wouldn't have looked twice.

"I enjoy a great relationship with him and everybody at the club.

The fans are brilliant and Fulham is not a job I would ever consider walking away from."

Comments