Wilkinson waits for job offer from FA


Rupert Metcalf
Saturday 04 January 1997 00:02

After all the talk of the Football Association turning to some distinguished foreign coaching guru in its search for its first technical director, it seems that the job is to be given to a Yorkshireman whose main experience of international football was with the England semi-professional team.

Howard Wilkinson, the former manager of Leeds United (and, among other teams, Boston United and the England non-League XI) is expected to be given the new post of FA technical director on Monday. The 53-year-old native of Sheffield has been tipped for the job for some weeks, after potential overseas candidates such as Arsene Wenger took alternative employment.

The technical director will have wide responsibilities - he will oversee the nurturing of talent from the grass roots upwards and will work closely with the England coach, Glenn Hoddle. Wilkinson reportedly turned down the post last year, when he chose to battle on as Leeds manager. Now he is available after leaving Elland Road in September - and he recently turned down an approach from Manchester City.

Hoddle's predecessor as England coach, Terry Venables, turned down an approach to coach Turkey last year, it was revealed yesterday when he arrived in Sydney to take charge of the Australian national team.

"I was close to [accepting one job offer] that was quite interesting," Venables said, "but I had a personal problem... if it had been under other circumstances, maybe it would have been different." He subsequently admitted that offer had come from Turkey, and that he had been given other prestigious opportunities. He will lead Australia for the first time later this month in a four-nation tournament involving Norway, New Zealand and South Korea.

The Aston Villa manager, Brian Little, will not be taking any disciplinary action against his striker Savo Milosevic for allegedly spitting at David Beckham in Wednesday's match at Manchester United. Little's assistant, Allan Evans, has studied television pictures of the incident and told him there was no case to answer.

Bryan Robson, the Middlesbrough player-manager who is 40 next week, has said he does not want to play again despite managing 90 minutes against Arsenal on Wednesday. "My sciatica played me up," Robson said yesterday.

Julian Dicks has signed a new three-and-a-half year contract with West Ham, where his current deal expires this summer but Alf Haland has rejected Nottingham Forest's offer of a new four-year contract.

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