Arsene Wenger was described as a perfect fit for an international coach, by the FA Chief Executive Martin Glenn.
He was discussing the pressures on international managers with reference to Eddie Howe, 38,
who brings his team – Bournemouth to the Emirates Stadium today, and has also been mentioned as an England contender.
When they asked Wenger if the time has come for him to become national manager , he said:
“I was already in France asked a few times to take the national team at that age, 37, 38. But I thought always:
‘I have time to do it,’ and I thought it so much but I have still not done it. The time is getting short now.”
The FA might have saw Wenger as a potential England manager, but he believes that an Englishman should do the job.
And whether he would enjoy taking a national team seems tenable. He relishes day-to-day involvement with players
as well as bringing young players through. Although his idea of relaxation is famously to watch football on DVDs,
even a football obsessive on Wenger’s level might find himself bored in the long periods
between international matches.
“If you want to be part of coaching, then I think of course it’s at a club,” he said.
“For me, international coaching is not coaching. It’s only really interesting during the big tournaments.
In Europe now you have 53 countries, 24 qualifiers, you play two years of qualifiers, no-one knows why.
Then you go to the European Championships and that is interesting.
“Now they will create a 48-team World Cup, so we’ll start the World Cup in January and finish in June.
It’s a very pressured job for the England coach and every week you go to a game and think:
‘Has this guy the level, do I pick him or not?’ But you are a bit frustrated on a daily basis.”
Howe was named last week by Bob Wilson, the former Arsenal goalkeeper and coach,
as a perfect successor when Wenger leaves the club, which may not happen soon even though his current contract expires at the end of the season.