24 Aug Coleman focused on Wales
Chris Coleman says he is ” fully focused” on Wales’ World Cup campaign after turning down the chance to become a Premier League manager.
Promoted Hull wanted Coleman to fill their managerial vacancy earlier this month after the 46-year-old took Wales to the semi-final of Euro 2016.
Coleman was reportedly keen to talk to Hull with the financial package on offer dwarfing that of his £200,000-plus Wales salary.
But the Football Association of Wales rejected the Tigers’ approach and Coleman – who signed a new two-year contract in May – chose to stay in a job he has been in since January 2012.
“There was an approach, the FAW turned it down and I’m fully focused on what I need to do it for my country again,” Coleman said as he announced the squad for Wales’ opening 2018 World Cup qualifier next month.
“It’s difficult for me to walk away from Wales now, especially on the back of what we’ve done and on the eve of a World Cup campaign.
“If the campaign doesn’t go great and I sit down with Jonathan (Ford, FAW chief executive) and David Griffiths (FAW president) towards the end of it, then that’s different.
“If we can’t get to where we want to be, then maybe someone will have a few games before the end of the tournament and get experience.
“But it’s very difficult for me to resign from this post during the campaign.”
Coleman has made no secret of his ambition to manage in club football again some time in the future and said it was natural to look at Premier League offers.
But the former Fulham boss, who has also managed abroad at Real Sociedad in Spain and Larissa in Greece, said he was ready for the challenge of trying to take Wales to their first World Cup since 1958.
“I want to work at the top level, like everybody else, but that doesn’t mean to say that’s the Premier League for me,” the 46-year-old said.
“I’ve said before I’d like to work in Europe again. That’s not to say I don’t want to work in the Premier League – it’s a great league, it’s recognised as the best in the world.
“But what I’ve got here is something very special and close to my heart.
“There’s no guarantees, we know that. But for me, I’m happy and focused on the next challenge and I’m ready to go.
“I’m not going to tell a lie. If someone comes and it’s the Premier League, anybody, you kind of look at it sideways, of course you do.
“But I’m the manager of my country. That comes around once if you’re lucky, and I hope I never have any regrets when my times with Wales is up.”
Coleman named a 23-man squad showing three changes from the one he selected for France this summer.
Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey and Crystal Palace forward Jonathan Williams are both injured for the World Cup opener against Moldova in Cardiff on September 5.
And veteran Nottingham Forest midfielder David Vaughan has announced his retirement from international football.
In their place come Newcastle defender Paul Dummett, Cardiff midfielder Emyr Huws and Leicester striker Tom Lawrence.
“Aaron is irreplaceable. He makes a huge impact for us,” Coleman said of the Arsenal player who he expects to be out for another three weeks with a hamstring problem.
“He is a great player and it’s a shame he’s not here. He’s a loss to any team.
“Jonny has had a good impact on the team and it’s unfortunate he’s not with us because he brings something different.
“Vaughany sat down with me when he got back from France and explained he was going to retire.
“I tried to talk him out of because he’s been with us for so long and he’s got good quality.
“But he wants to spend more time with his family and concentrate on his club career, and we’ve got to respect that.
“He’s been a great servant for Wales.”