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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Apr 27, 2006

Wenger a better bet than Scolari - Lineker

Former England captain Gary Lineker feels it is a 'big ask' for Brazilian Luiz Felipe Scolari to bring instant success to the national team - and believes if the Football Association must appoint another foreign coach then Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger would be the perfect candidate.

FA chief executive Brian Barwick and lawyer Simon Johnson flew to Lisbon yesterday after being given permission to talk to Scolari, who will remain Portugal's coach until after the World Cup.

Scolari won the World Cup with Brazil four years ago and also led Portugal to the final of Euro 2004.

But Lineker feels another foreign appointment after Sven-Goran Eriksson may not be the answer.

'Scolari has got a very good record - but that was with Brazil and Ronaldinho, so well done there - and I am surprised because he has got no connection with English football whatsoever,' he said.

'It will take him probably three or four years to come to terms with the style of our play, the frenetic nature of the English game, who the individuals are.

'He comes from even further away than Sven does in terms of knowing our players. It will be a big ask for him.

'If their (the FA's) criteria was `Let's get the best man from wherever he comes from', well you just knock Wenger's door down until he answers it.

'After that you could make a case for Guus Hiddink, because he is a little bit closer and knows a bit more about the English game - or obviously Martin O'Neill.'

Lineker was at BBC Television Centre this afternoon to promote the channel's World Cup coverage, which includes England's opening match on Saturday June 10 against Paraguay in Frankfurt.

He was part of the England squad which reached the semi-finals of the 1990 World Cup in Italy when it had been announced Bobby Robson would stand down after the competition.

But Lineker does not think Eriksson's impending departure will affect the players heading into the tournament.

'It does not make a blind bit of difference. As a player, all you care about is the World Cup - not about outside influences at all,' he said.

'You want a coach who picks you - nothing else matters. If he picks you, you like him, if he does not, then you don`t. It is as simple as that.'