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Sep 3, 2014

Former Chelsea, Fulham coach Ray Wilkins appointed as Jordan boss

Fulham's assistant manager Ray Wilkins (left) and manager Rene Meulensteen have a job to do to turn things around.
Ray Wilkins has also worked as a pundit on Sky Sports.

Ray Wilkins, who most recently worked as assistant head coach at Fulham last season under Rene Meulensteen, has been appointed as the new coach of Jordan.

Wilkins, 57, will be assisted by former Arsenal and Republic of Ireland forward Frank Stapleton and the pair will lead the team at the AFC Asian Cup in Australia in January where they have been drawn in a group with Japan, Iraq and Palestine.

The Jordan Football Association (JFA), which announced the appointment on its official website, said Wilkins would take charge of the team after their friendlies against Uzbekistan on Thursday and China five days later.

Wilkins' first match in charge will be against Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur on October 11 and the former England international says he is relishing the opportunity to test his credentials at international level. 

"I am relocating, Frank and I will be moving out in the middle of next week, so we will be putting a lot of time and effort into the job," Wilkins told Sky Sports News.

"It's only for five months, it's not a long term thing, it's just until we get the Asian Cup over with. They've reached the quarter-finals on the last two occasions, so let's hope we can go a couple better.

"We are going to go down there (to Australia) in January and attempt to achieve something with them. I saw the guys train, they look a very lively bunch, so we're looking forward to getting stuck in.

"I won't be seeking any advice, we'll just get out there and we're going to crack on. We're going to train the guys to try and get to a little bit of a better fitness level."

And Wilkins admitted a successful Asian Cup campaign could persuade him to continue in the role and lead the team into the 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign.

"If we were to be successful -- and please God we are -- then I would certainly have to look at it, but I would certainly have to look at my family situation as well,'' he added.

Jordan are ranked 56th in the world by FIFA, sandwiched between Finland and South Korea and 10 places above the Republic of Ireland. 

The Asian nation have never qualified for the World Cup, but only missed out on a place in Brazil this summer by losing a play-off to Uruguay, 5-0 on aggregate.

Wilkins, who won 84 caps for England and has also coached at Chelsea, joined the Fulham staff last December, but lasted less than two months before leaving when Felix Magath came in as manager in February.

There have been other British managers who have tried their luck abroad. Here are five:

JOE KINNEAR: Kinnear was appointed coach of India in 1984, before moving on to Nepal for two years in 1987. "We trained at the foot of Mount Everest,'' recalled Kinnear. "You could see it as you looked outside your window.'' Kinnear would go on to give himself an even bigger mountain to climb at Newcastle.

DON REVIE: Revie caused controversy by resigning as England boss in 1977 to take up a 340,000-pounds-per-year tax-free post with the United Arab Emirates. Having compounded the situation by selling his story to the Daily Mail, Revie was suspended from football for 10 years by an enraged Football Association.

JOHN TOSHACK: Toshack's shock appointment as Macedonia coach in 2011 lasted less than a year. The former Wales boss won just one of his eight games in charge then was sacked after failing to comply with a request to relocate full-time to the Balkan nation from his home in Spain.

MICK WADSWORTH: Much-travelled Wadsworth -- who would later take charge of St Kitts & Nevis -- landed up as head coach of Congo in 2003. "I'd done my homework, and I knew I was letting myself in for a culture shock,'' said Wadsworth, who led the team to the African Cup of Nations finals in Tunisia where they lost all three games.

TERRY YORATH: The former Wales boss enjoyed a mutually beneficial couple of years in Lebanon in the mid-1990s. The Lebanese national team rose more than 50 places in the FIFA rankings while Yorath conceded: "I'm much more patient than I ever was before in my life. And I've learned how to make a smashing stew.''

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