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Keita relishing Leipzig UCL challenge

By ESPN Staff

'I could juggle club job' - N.Irealnd's Sanchez

Lawrie Sanchez admits he misses the day-to-day duties of club management and is confident he could juggle a return to a 'top' team and also stay on as Northern Ireland boss.

Sanchez has masterminded famous victories over England and Spain during his three years managing Northern Ireland, but hinted at leaving the post after the 2008 European Championships.

'I love the international job, it's been fantastic for me and I've done it for three years now,' said Sanchez. 'There is obviously a timescale for international managers, four years is reasonable.

'I am starting to miss the day-to-day but I also want to finish this campaign.'

Sanchez, who took Wycombe to the semi-finals of the FA Cup before he took charge of Northern Ireland, believes it is possible to keep his current post and also manage a club.

'I could do it, I've got no doubts I could do it,' he said.

'We've played eight games this year, we'll play nine next year. I think I can manage the two.'

Sanchez, speaking at an event hosted by Nationwide, the sponsor of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, added: 'If a job came along when you could do both they wouldn't stand in my way, it's a matter of finding a chairman and a club to do that with.

'That hasn't happened but if it did - and I mean a top club - then it's something I would have to contemplate.

'At some stage I will go back into club management, like all managers you're always looking where your next job is.'

Sanchez refused to speak to the media following the win against Spain as he felt his side were unfairly criticised for their defeat against Iceland at the start of their qualifying campaign.

The former Wimbledon midfielder, however, has guided Northern Ireland into a position where they have a chance of qualifying for the 2008 finals despite their poor start.

He said: 'We started so poorly against Iceland and were written off by all and sundry, but the players have shown great determination to come back and we're in a very nice position over Christmas.

'We play Liechtenstein in two of the next three games - you don't want to count your chickens but if we do well in those we'll still be in the mix next September.'

He added: 'My beef with the press was that we're a small nation and can be very good like we were against England, but we can also be very bad because at times we raise our games and other times we play to our level.

'The reaction was too extreme but we've got the feel-good factor back in Northern Ireland. You walk around Belfast and you still see the Liverpool, Manchester United and Celtic shirts, but you also see the Northern Ireland shirts in equal quantities which you didn't see before.

'They sold 20,000 shirts in the last three months - they hadn't sold 20,000 shirts in the last three years.'

Sanchez, and the other three managers of the home nations, were at a London school to review the international football year and promote Nationwide's 'Cats' Eyes for Kids' child road safety scheme.

Sanchez gave his side 'eight out of 10' in 2006 for their climb in the rankings.

'We were 124th at one stage, what we've achieved in the three years I've been here has been phenomenal,' he added.

'We are 61 places higher than last December so it has been a very good year.'

He added: 'It's not what I've achieved, it's what the players achieved.

'In our position it's probably easier to go up that if you were at the top, but it's a great achievement, our highest in 10 years.'