England willing to wait for Wenger

The FA have refused to rule out the possibility of waiting a year to appoint Arsene Wenger as Roy Hodgson’s successor, with chief executive Martin Glenn confident in the abilities of Gareth Southgate to hold the fort.

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Glenn was determined not to mention names in the immediate aftermath of Hodgson’s decision to quit following the embarrassing 2-1 defeat to Iceland in Nice.

But even though there are only nine weeks until England’s opening World Cup qualifier against Slovakia, a three-man committee of Glenn, FA technical director Dan Ashworth and former Manchester United chief executive David Gill are prepared to wait if that is what it takes to get the best man.

Wenger is out of contract at Arsenal next summer and Glenn said: “Yes, we would be willing to have a caretaker-manager for such an important decision.

“Even if somebody is coming to the end of the contract in a year – it is a possibility, of course.

“If you said, ‘This person is an absolute shoo-in, can you wait?’ then we are well-placed with an interim solution. Otherwise you might get a few interim solutions – a few managers to come and help.

“It is such an important decision. We have got to get the right person. To wait a few months, if that is what we had to do, would be the right decision.”

Southgate is in charge of the England Under-21 team and Glenn responded knowingly when asked if there was somebody who could step into the void if a decision is not made by September.

“We’d like to get one for the first World Cup qualifier [in Slovakia on September 4], but if we won’t we have an interim plan in mind,” Glenn said. “We are not talking about names today but it would be a pretty obvious one to pick.

“We just don’t know yet who the runners and riders would be. We are going to scope it out, which we start at the end of this week with David Gill and Dan.”

Brendan Rodgers, who also has a year-long contract at Celtic, has already spoken to Ashworth but Glenn insisted the England job was not mentioned.

The three-man panel intend to canvass widely on the subject, speaking to players, managers and coaches from all around the world in search for “the best person for the job” regardless of nationality.

Hodgson himself professed to having “no idea” who should succeed him, but said the squad he had left should be capable of having a rather better major tournament in Russia in 2018.

“Initially the aim might be a semi-final because we haven’t been there for some while,” Hodgson said. “But the aim eventually has to be to win because we are England, we do have good players and there are no reasons why teams like Germany, Spain and Italy should have a monopoly on it.”

Glenn added: “It’s our commitment to say in future tournaments every game, every match, every half we will punch our weight and go to tournaments as contenders and get over this brittleness, where we can hit a banana skin and under-deliver against the potential of what is a great squad and a very well-resourced team.”

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