Wenger coy over England links
ARSENAL manager Arsene Wenger has refused to completely rule out accepting a potential offer to take charge of England at the end of the season. Wenger has been linked with the England job following the Football Association’s decision to part company with Sam Allardyce on Tuesday.
Quizzed on possible England interest after Wednesday’s 2-0 Champions League win over Basel, Wenger stopped short of confirming he would snub an FA approach.
Allardyce’s self-inflicted exit after his controversial comments to undercover reporters has left the FA searching for a new boss and they have appointed England Under-21 coach Gareth Southgate as interim manager to buy them time.
Southgate will pick the team for England’s remaining four matches this year and could be persuaded to remain in charge until the end of the season if there was a chance to hire a top-class boss like Wenger.
Wenger, who is this week celebrating 20 years with the Gunners, underlined his commitment to Arsenal, but also said his future was only tied to the north Londoners until the end of the season.
Asked if he was flattered to be linked with the job, Wenger said: “Of course, but my priority has always been this club and until the end of this season I am here. I’m completely focused on this club. Nothing will change on that. It (Allardyce leaving) was a huge surprise. Who could have predicted that 48 hours ago? Nobody…”
Wenger traditionally operates on a year-to-year basis these days and only decides whether he wants to continue as Arsenal’s manager late in each season.
That approach gives a little hope to the FA if they make Wenger their top target and he answered with a nod and a smile when asked if he knew the words to the English national anthem.
But for now the Frenchman, who years ago revealed he had once rejected an offer to manage England, is fully focused on maintaining Arsenal’s encouraging progress after they extended their unbeaten run to eight games.
“That is not decided,” Wenger said of his long-term plans.
“I said my priority was always Arsenal football club. I have to decide how well I do until the end of the season.” – AFP