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I rejected England approach: Wenger

The Arsenal manager rejected an offer to manage England, the Frenchman revealed on Saturday.

india Updated: Feb 11, 2006 16:35 IST

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger rejected an offer to manage England, the Frenchman revealed on Saturday as he doesn't believe the post should be held by a foreigner.

Wenger said that such a job should only be done by a native of a particular country as it is not just a case of who is the best man for the job, but also revolves round national identity.

The Frenchman is the latest to join the debate about who should replace Swede Sven-Goran Eriksson when he steps down after this year's World Cup with several influential figures wanting the job to revert back to an Englishman.

"I was asked to take the England job at some stage and I still feel the same because the national team for me is not purely football level," said Wenger.

"People identify with national culture and pride, the national team, it is all linked together. It is easier to be accepted when you're from the country."

"If you ask me would you prefer an English guy, I would say yes.

"The national team competition is still important for people, you can see that when you look at the viewing figures on television.

"And it is not down to the football level, because if England play against the Faroe Islands, it will still make more of an audience than Liverpool against Arsenal.

"It is not linked with football, but with national identification."

English names being bandied around to replace Eriksson include Bolton's Sam Allardyce, who is keen to retire from football by the time he is 55, but would probably revise his decision were he to be offered the England post, Alan Curbishley and Steve McClaren, presently deputy to the Swede.

First Published: Feb 11, 2006 16:35 IST