DINARD: Wales manager Chris Coleman would “never, ever” even consider taking charge of his team’s beleaguered British rivals England, he said ahead of Wednesday’s Euro 2016 semi-final against Portugal.
Having guided Wales to a first ever major tournament semi-final by masterminding a stirring 3-1 win over Belgium last Friday, Coleman’s star is firmly in the ascendant.
England are seeking a new manager after Roy Hodgson stepped down following their last 16 humiliation by Iceland and while Coleman is not expecting a call from the Football Association, he says he has no interest in the job.
“I have a lot of time and respect for Roy Hodgson,” the 46-year-old told reporters at Wales’s media centre in Dinard, northwest France.
“I think he’s a very good manager. He’s lost his job so England now will search again, but it’s something that would never, ever enter my thinking, to be honest.
“I’m a Welshman through and through. At international football, it was only Wales, it would only ever be Wales. My next job after Wales, whenever that is, will be somewhere maybe abroad.
“To manage another country? No, I wouldn’t. That’s not something I would consider.”
While Wales are looking forward to the biggest match in their history, England have embarked upon the now familiar round of soul-searching that follows their elimination from every major tournament.
England’s Football Association has pledged to carry out a “definitive review” of the tournament to identify where Hodgson went wrong.
Asked for his opinion, Coleman suggested that pre-tournament target-setting may have had a negative effect.
Thoughts of Speed
“The bigger countries have got to get into the quarter-finals, semi-finals, final. We didn’t,” he said.
“We had to come and perform for us, for inside our camp. I thought we had a good chance of getting to the quarter final. I never came out and said to the players: ‘That is what we can do.’
“We don’t think: ‘We’ve got a game here. We’ve got to win it to get to this or that stage three games down the line.’
“For some countries that was the case. It wasn’t for us.”
He added: “The next game in the (qualifying) campaign was the biggest one and it’s been the same in the tournament. The next one is even bigger.
“We don’t need to change anything we do. We’ll go into it as the underdogs, no problem at all.”
When Coleman walks out at Stade de Lyon, he will become only the fourth British man to coach a team in a major tournament semi-final after former England managers Alf Ramsey, Bobby Robson and Terry Venables.
Coleman only took up the role, in January 2012, due to the tragic suicide of his childhood friend Gary Speed, who was Wales’s manager at the time of his death, and he said that thoughts of Speed had never been far away during his time in France.
“It is not because I am at a tournament. I always think of him,” Coleman said.
“Everyone else will say they know him through football. That was not the case with me. I met him through football, but then we were friends since 10 or 11.
“That is when our paths crossed and we stayed mates. I don’t need football to remind me of ‘Speeds’. Everyone else can do that.
“But when we beat Belgium, I did not just think of Speeds as he was one of my friends. I have lost two or three friends who have died too young. It is horrible.
“I can’t say because of that game I thought of Speeds as I don’t need Belgium or a big game to think of him. I always think of him.”