Mallinder keen to manage England


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The Independent Online

Northampton's director of rugby, Jim Mallinder, has declared his interest in the England coaching job.

Current manager Martin Johnson's future is in doubt following a disappointing World Cup both on and off the field. Mallinder, 45, said: "Every player should aspire to play for his country and I think that's the same for coaches too – aspire to be the best you can.

"If one day I ever have that honour, it would be something that would be very difficult to turn down."

England lost to France in the quarter-final in New Zealand and the players were criticised for their behaviour away from the pitch.

Johnson's contract expires next month and it is still uncertain if he wants to continue in the job or if the Rugby Football Union wants him to remain in charge. His fate is the subject of two reviews, one headed by the RFU rugby operations director, Rob Andrew, the other by former RFU vice-chairman Fran Cotton.

Mallinder, who played full-back for Sale, took Northampton to last season's Heineken Cup final. He played twice for England in 1997 and coached England Saxons between 2006 and 2007, winning 15 of his 16 matches in charge.

The World Cup-winning coach Graham Henry has admitted he is interested in coaching in Europe after stepping down as New Zealand coach. Henry, 65, saw his side narrowly beat France 8-7 in the World Cup final last month to claim their second title. "I would like to spend a little bit of time assisting, if there is a demand from a club or from a union in Europe," Henry said. "It would be stimulating."