Early targets and old faces: Who is next for Wales?

early targets and old faces: who is next for wales?

Early targets and old faces: Who is next for Wales?

The Football Association of Wales have already held discussions over potential replacements for Rob Page, sacked as national team manager on Friday.

But Welsh football bosses are prepared to take their time in naming a new manager after seemingly missing out on two leading targets.

It is understood Rob Edwards and Steve Cooper had both been high up on the wish-list of senior figures at the association.

Former Wales international Edwards has admirers among the FAW’s hierarchy following his record with Luton and his track record of working with younger players.

But the 41-year-old this week signed a new four-year deal at Kenilworth Road, with a compensation package likely to be out of the FAW's budget.

Meanwhile Cooper, who had also been viewed as an ideal candidate given his international experience with England’s youth set-up, had already indicated he would be keen for a return to Premier League management ahead of his appointment at Leicester City.

Unable to compete financially with the Premier League, the FAW know they may struggle to lure in-work targets to the international stage.

However, Welsh football bosses expect significant interest in the role and the chance to lead Wales into World Cup qualifying.

Former Wales manager Mark Hughes would be keen for a return to the position he held between 1999 and 2004.

Hughes is not a name that has been previously discussed, with the FAW believed to be keen on a younger manager.

But they are open to exploring all options, with the vacancy expected to be formally advertised.

And with no fixture until their Nations League campaign begins in September, they will not rush into a decision following the departure of Page after three years in charge.

Previous applicants could return to the frame

early targets and old faces: who is next for wales?

Osian Roberts served in the Wales backroom under Gary Speed, Chris Coleman and Ryan Giggs before leaving to take up a position with the Moroccan FA in 2019

With Page an internal appointment after Ryan Giggs stepped down in 2020, it is the first time the FAW will have undertaken a recruitment process for the men’s national side since 2018.

Then, Giggs saw off competition from former teammate Craig Bellamy to land the role, who is said to have impressed during the interview process.

He has since enhanced his experience as assistant to Vincent Kompany at Anderlecht and Burnley, but it remains to be seen if the 44-year-old – currently in interim charge at Turf Moor – would be interested on this occasion, while there are those who retain reservations about his suitability.

Former assistant Osian Roberts – another who has previously indicated interest in the job – has support among a section of the fanbase.

A former technical director of the FAW Trust, he has spent time serving on Patrick Viera’s backroom at Crystal Palace and recently enjoyed a promotion-winning spell in caretaker charge of Serie B side Como.

The 58-year-old is likely to be considered, although he is not thought to be a leading contender amid questions whether he is suited to being a No.1 on the international stage.

All options open

The possibility of Under-21 manager Matty Jones taking temporary charge has been discussed, with some at the association impressed with the progress of the former Wales and Leeds midfielder, although it is seen by some as too soon for him to be considered to become a permanent replacement.

Likewise, while there has been an ambition at the association to harness recent playing success – with several members of the celebrated Euro 2016 squad having been fast-tracked on the FAW’s highly-regarded coach education course – it is likely to be seen as a premature move to promote the likes of current coach Chris Gunter and Wales Under-21 assistant Neil Taylor.

Former Manchester United assistant manager Eric Ramsay could be a name taken seriously given his reputation and work during a short-term spell in Page’s backroom, although the 32-year-old is only four-months into his first frontline job with MLS side Minnesota United.

Welsh-qualified Chris Davies would have been a possible contender but the former Tottenham assistant manager would presumably be out of the running after being named new Birmingham boss last week.

Former Luton, Southampton and Stoke boss Nathan Jones has previously admitted managing his country would be "the pinnacle" but, now at Charlton, it is not thought his name has figured in early conversations.

And there is an awareness that there is not a great depth to the pool of Welsh managers who would fit the profile being sought.

However, the FAW would be prepared to look beyond its borders for a manager for the first time since Englishman Bobby Gould took the job in 1995.

And there is some appetite among some senior officials for a high-profile individual regardless of nationality.

Former Arsenal striker Thierry Henry - currently managing France's Olympic and Under-21 teams - has been previously linked having completed his coaching badges in Wales.

And while it is neither clear whether the FAW would be able to tempt interest from the ex-Belgium assistant coach, nor if he remains a serious target, he has long been rumoured to be a name that excites some figures at the top of Welsh football's governing body.

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