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Call on Wenger to steady England’s sinking ship
FA must take some responsibility that there is no single standout English candidate in the Premier League.

Nice: For a couple of years in the 1970s, France employed the great Romanian coach Stefan Kovacs as manager of Les Bleus.
Spain had the naturalised Uruguayan Jose Santamaria in charge for their home World Cup finals in 1982. The Austrian, Ernst Happel, was manager of Holland when they reached the 1978 World Cup final. Portugal’s manager for their home Euro 2004 was the Brazilian, Luiz Felipe Scolari.
Of course, there are those who have homegrown lineage, like Italy, who have had 13 Italian coaches since they fully embraced the concept of the individual manager in 1967, although the Hungarian Lajos Czeizler was in charge for the 1954 World Cup finals.
Germany and, during its existence, West Germany, have only ever had German coaches, although East Germany had a couple of Hungarian managers.
As for England, the Football Association has again reached a crisis point when the line of suitable home candidates has been exhausted and a hard decision has to be made about bridging the gap with a well-qualified, experienced foreign coach.
This is the time for a bold decision on an anglicised foreign manager who knows the game and has the kind of status to soothe a young squad in troubled times and convince them it can be different.
In the aftermath of defeat by a Nordic nation with more volcanoes than professional footballers, now may not be the time to talk up England’s future, although it is far from catastrophic.
Dele Alli, Harry Kane, Eric Dier, Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard, John Stones, Luke Shaw and Ross Barkley are not a bad basis to start with, albeit in need of the right manager. The FA is in uncharted territory, yet it goes without saying that the name of Arsene Wenger will still cause a jolt.
He has one year left on his Arsenal contract and his Euro 2016 punditry duties mean he has not yet been back to his home of 20 years in the post-Brexit era and rejection of the European Union he regards as sacrosanct.
Yet, come September, the England players who survive the disaster of Nice need a manager with the status and the track record that say he knows what he is doing. This is not the time for a young manager to learn on the job, when the job is rescuing an English game that is on its knees again.
There are good English managers in the Premier League - albeit only three at the end of last season - and, among them, Alan Pardew and Sam Allardyce have already been overlooked by the FA.
Eddie Howe is the outstanding young prospect, but it feels 15 years too soon. My belief has always been that any serious football nation should have a manager of its own nationality, and generally speaking in the modern era the most sophisticated and most successful countries do not contemplate going outside their borders.
But there are no Fifa rules on this and, as even Euro 2016 tells us, national associations also do what suits them with naturalised players. When the FA recruited the Swede, Sven-Goran Eriksson, in 2000 and then, seven years later, the Italian, Fabio Capello, it did so as a Premier League club might throw its money around in the European transfer market. These were unprecedented wages in unprecedented times and the long-term effect was hardening the mood among a new generation of foreign club owners that the native manager was not to be trusted.
Which means that now the FA must take some of the responsibility that there is no single standout English candidate working in the Premier League. The question now is whether a figure such as Wenger can be integrated into the structure without inflicting the same kind of long-term damage on the reputation of the native coach as was done by the FA in the previous decade. What is the alternative?
Howe has had phenomenal success at Bournemouth but it has been the early stages of a promising career - three promotions and one season of survival in the Premier League - rather than developing the credentials for the international game.
He will, one hopes, go on to achieve the other skills required for successful elite level management, but at the moment the England team are in need of the proverbial share price stabilisation.
They need someone of note to inspire confidence and expecting a young manager who has never before managed big-name players or dealt with the fierce scrutiny of big club management would be a dangerous course to take.
The default appointment would be Gareth Southgate, the manager of the under-21s, whose last club job was seven years ago and who also meets few of the criteria that any normal recruitment process would require. But he is another whom the FA cannot afford to expose prematurely to the senior job in the same way as, in 2006, it threw in Steve McClaren after the bodged appointment of Scolari.
Southgate may yet be the caretaker for the first 2018 World Cup qualifier against Slovakia on Sept 4 and if Wenger is not, as anticipated, to walk away from his final year at Arsenal, then the former may have to take the next four qualifiers next season himself.
The Frenchman could have oversight of the squad and meet the players, then be in place for the away game against Scotland on June 10 and the last four qualifiers of the campaign.
Privately, Wenger sees himself as an international manager eventually.
He turned down the France job in 2012 prior to it being offered to Didier Deschamps and Wenger now says that his moment has passed with his home nation. England’s need is the greater but the job does not represent to Wenger the daunting prospect it does to others.

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