After the FA sacked Sam Allardyce following a newspaper sting, much has been said about who should replace the disgraced manager and take charge of England. The Three Lion’s U-21 manager Gareth Southgate has been appointed as caretaker manager for now while the powers that be search for a permanent replacement.
A number of candidates have been considered, including managers who work abroad. But Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger feels that it should be an English manager who should take charge of the national team.
The Telegraph’s undercover investigation revealed that Allardyce had tried to advise “Far East businessmen” on how to circumvent third-party ownership rules while also trying to use his position as England manager to make trips to Asia for a certain fee. And Wenger understood why he had to leave his job, explaining his position in an interview with beIN Sports.
“It [his position as manager] was untenable,” the French manager said. “If he’d stayed in charge I think every press conference, every time England prepares for a game the subject would have come up again.
“I think Sam Allardyce himself acknowledged that he made a mistake and that it would be difficult to stay.”
Wenger is currently in the final year of his contract at Arsenal and there have been no indications yet that he will extend his deal. Asked if he had been approached by the FA to take up the England job, he said that was not the case.
“No, not really,” he said when pressed if he had anything more to add. “Personally, I want England to do well and I think it was a story that was a shock for me.
“I thought Sam Allardyce had the right level of experience and authority to do well with England,” he continued. “I think Roy Hodgson was a bit unlucky in the last two tournaments. And at some stage, a guy of experience like Sam Allardyce could have helped to push that [squad] through and to get a good tournament.”
England must have an English manager: Wenger
When Wenger was asked whether an English manager should be a frontrunner for the job, he said it was important they hired an English manager.
“It’s very important,” Wenger said. “I always said that. A country like England has a huge football passion. And as well, the structure of the national team looks to me that it demands a guy from your own nation is the leader.
“If you think that tomorrow you’re coach of France and you play against England and the national anthem is played of England, you cannot sing it, and you cannot sing the anthem as well of the team you’re leading.
“It looks to me a bit strange, you know? I like what is logical. I think it’s better [if an Englishman was in charge].”
Asked whether he ever came close to taking up the Three Lions job, he said: “My first priority was always Arsenal. It would be difficult for me to manage another English team so the second possibility would have been England, but my priority was always my club.”
England, currently in second place in Group F, play two 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers during the international break. They first take on Malta at home on 8 October before travelling to Slovenia for a game on 11 October