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Wenger wishes luck to old foe Allardyce

Arsene Wenger believes old adversary Sam Allardyce can be a success as England manager.

Allardyce was confirmed as the replacement for Roy Hodgson by the Football Association on Friday, signing a two-year contract running until the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Arsenal boss Wenger has had a number of well-publicised spats with Allardyce, as the latter’s Bolton, Blackburn Rovers West Ham and Sunderland sides habitually caused problems for the Gunners using a tactical style far removed from the one employed by the Frenchman.

Nevertheless, Wenger – who was himself linked to the England post – spoke warmly of the 61-year-old’s abilities.

“I wish him well,” he told a news conference. “Now he can focus on winning the next World Cup. I believe that he has many ingredients to do well for England. 

“He wanted the job for a long time because he was already in contention when Steve McClaren got the job [in 2006]. He has big experience and I wish him well.

“The team was a bit young to win the European Championship. In two years if they stay together I think they have a better chance. He has lots of experience to help get them into a better position in Russia.

“He has done well recently at Sunderland, getting them out of a very bad position. He has a capacity to get the best out of a team and his sides are always difficult to beat because they are always well organised.”

Wenger refused to be drawn on whether the FA’s reported admiration for him extended to an interview but underlined his belief that national team should ideally select a homegrown coach.

“I wouldn’t like to talk about all the talks the FA had, but I was focused anyway. I always said I respect my contracts and that’s what I do,” he added.

“It’s always an honour to manage a country but I’ve said many times in the past that’s it’s more comfortable for me that a guy from the country manages their national team. Why? Because it represents the culture of the country and it’s the national team, so it looks more natural that it’s a candidate from the country.

Sat 23 Jul, 2016
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