Forget Italy, I'm a Man City man now, says Mancini

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The Independent Online

The Manchester City manager, Roberto Mancini, has insisted that he has a long-term job to do at Eastlands and that the prospect of replacing Marcello Lippi in charge of the Italian national team when the 61-year-old steps down after the World Cup in South Africa does not interest him.

"Maybe in 10 years. I'm staying here," Mancini said, though the national role could be a route for Mancini if the finale to the Premier League season does not work out as City hope and the Italian is not retained for the next campaign.

The Italian Football Federation wants to announce a successor to Lippi, who led Italy to the 2006 World Cup, before the start of this summer's tournament. Its main target was Cesare Prandelli, the Fiorentina coach, though he is understood to favour remaining in club football, possibly by taking over at Juventus from the temporary manager Alberto Zaccheroni.

With the other contenders either otherwise engaged (Fabio Capello) or individuals who have not proved that they will necessarily succeed (Giovanni Trapattoni), Mancini's appeal is self-evident. The Italian, who takes his City side to a jubilant Fulham tomorrow, clearly believes he can see out his contract and though he is not tasked to hit fourth spot, the 10-game run-in does place him under the spotlight. Giancarlo Abete, the Italian FA's president, is confident that Mancini could be tempted to return home if things do not work out in Manchester.

Mancini also urged Wayne Bridge, who is out of action for a month after a hernia operation, to reconsider his decision to retire from international football. "It is always important for a player to play in the World Cup, because you can only play in it once or twice in your life," he said. "I hope for Wayne and England he changes his mind. If you have a chance of playing for England, they can win the World Cup. I think he will be ready for the last five games. In the next month maybe he can change his situation. When Wayne returns to training I will speak with him."

Capello yesterday confirmed he would seek to take David Beckham to the finals. "We have asked Beckham to come to South Africa with us," said the England manager. "It depends on him and how his tendon injury is."

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