‘England Is My Second Country’ – Arsene Wenger Won’t Rule Out Becoming England Manager

Arsene Wenger says he won’t rule out becoming the England Football team’s manager, but it will have to wait until the end of his contract at Arsenal, reports The Telegraph. He has managed the English club for nearly 20 years and will honor his contract with them till it runs out in 12 months time. He has said he doesn’t know where his future lies after the contract’s end, and he would consider the England option if he were to be approached.

“Could I manage England, why not? I would never rule that out, but I am happy and focused in club football,” he said in an interview, “England is my second country. I was absolutely on my knees when England went out against Iceland. I couldn’t believe it but when you watched the game you could sense, after 60 minutes, that the worst could happen. Did they panic or were they tired? I don’t know, but England couldn’t find an answer to what Iceland posed.”

Wenger’s name came up on a short list along with those of Jürgen Klinsmann and Sam Allardyce when Roy Hodgson resigned immediately after the embarrassing loss to Iceland in Euro2016.

England soccer team coach Roy Hodgson resigned after England's soccer team was knocked out of the Euro 2016 by Iceland [Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP Images]
The Football Association (FA) had considered an interim appointment in the form of the England Under-21 team manager, Gareth Southgate, until Arsene was available in 2017, but that plan was shelved as Southgate was not willing to accept the job, and ideally they would prefer a permanent appointment so as not to jeopardize England’s chances in Russia 2018.

Wenger, who would be the FA’s first choice as team manager, has been the manager of the Arsenal Football Club since 1996, where he has become the club’s longest-serving manager and most successful in terms of major titles won. In 1998 and 2002 the club completed a league and FA Cup double and successfully defended the FA Cup the following season. In 2004, they were undefeated in league matches for the entire season, being the first team since Preston North End to accomplish this 115 years earlier. This unbeaten streak evolved into a record-breaking run of 49 league matches without a loss. In 2006 they made their first appearance in a Champions League final, losing to Barcelona.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, left, Thierry Henry, center, and Kolo Toure react at the end of the match after Barcelona won the Champions League final in 2006. [Luca Bruno/AP Images]
He has widely been given credit for the role he has played regarding the revolutionizing of football in England in the late 1990s so far as changes in training and diet of players is concerned and has been dubbed “Le Professeur” by fans and the media due to his studious manner. He believes football should be an entertaining game to watch, and encourages his team to adopt an attacking culture on the pitch. He has also earned a reputation for spotting talent and remains focused on developing a youth system, using a group of talent scouts and personal contacts to find new prospects to play under him. He takes pride in developing talent.”I believe one of the best things about managing people is that we can influence lives in a positive way. That’s basically what a manager is about. When I can do that, I am very happy.”

Between 1996 and 2015, he was awarded the Premier League Manager of the Month title 14 times. Other managerial achievements include: J. League Manager of the Year: 1995; Officer of the Order of the British Empire: 2003; Onze d’Or Coach of The Year: 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004; Premier League Manager of the Season: 1998, 2002, 2004; LMA Manager of the Year: 2001–02, 2003–04; BBC Sports Personality of the Year Coach Award: 2002, 2004; Freedom of Islington: 2004; FWA Tribute Award: 2005; English Football Hall of Fame: 2006; French Manager of the Year: 2008; IFFHS World Coach of the Decade: 2001–2010 and Facebook Football Awards Manager of the Season 2014-15.

With Wenger intent on completing his existing contract before considering becoming the England Manager, it seems USA coach Jurgen Klinsmann and Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce are the bookmakers’ favourites to succeed Hodgson, with Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe regarded as an outsider.

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