It was little surprise that Roy Hodgson quickly resigned after England’s dismal exit from the Euros, but it is certainly a big surprise that Arsene Wenger was quickly installed as one of the favourites to take over, perhaps next summer when his contract with Arsenal will end.
Normally most English fans would prefer a native manager, but the FA chief executive Martin Glenn (who will one of the three-man panel to select Hodgson’s replacement) said that being English was not a requirement for the post- “If there were the perfect English manager, you would pick them,” Glenn said. “I am not sure there is, but we would take a good look and make a rational assessment.
“We’ll be looking for the best person for the job, so I am not ruling out a non-English coach.
“I’m not going to talk about names, it’s not even 24 hours since we’ve gone out of the tournament, but we will are looking for the best person, not necessarily the best Englishman.
“I won’t be drawn (on names), but track records are very important. It’s not always a factor that one can translate to the other, but clearly track record is an important part of any process.”
“We’d like to get one (manager) for the first World Cup qualifier, but if we don’t, we have an interim plan in mind,” Glenn said. “We are not talking about names today (for the interim post), but it would be a pretty obvious one to pick.
“We just don’t know yet who the runners and riders would be for the job.
“We clearly need an inspirational manager who can harness all of the resources that the English game, the big resources, has got to make us more resilient in tournaments.”
“That I think is the brief, but we want to work that through – but it is an inspirational manager and management team to get the best out of a squad which has got high potential,”
Glenn has previously been very enthusiastic about the Arsenal boss taking the job, especially as he has been managing in England for so long andknows the ins and outs of how the FA is run. “Arsène Wenger has been here since 1996,” Glenn said. “Has Arsène got a fantastic understanding of the Premier League, of English players, of the English media, of the expectations of England?
“Absolutely. So would you rule him out? Probably not, but he might not want it.”
Wenger has always said that he would always honour his contract no matter what, but it is a fact that the national manager’s job is considered to be more of a part-time occupation, and Wenger may like the idea of semi-retirement after giving his heart and soul to Arsenal for the last 20 years.
Perhaps he could do a job share this year with Gareth Southgate to help (like Hiddinck did with Chelsea and Russia) and then take sole control next summer when theWorld Cup Qualifiers will be in full swing.
Surely he has the “track record” needed, and he could hardly do a worse job than Hodgson!