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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Nov 23, 2007

Wenger offers help and backs England to recover

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger maintains England's failure to qualify for Euro 2008 is not a 'disaster' and backed them to recover strongly for the next World Cup campaign 'if the right measures are taken now'.

The Frenchman has also vowed he is 'happy to help' if the Football Association want to consult him for advice about the vacant manager's job but emphasised he is not interested in succeeding the sacked Steve McClaren.

McClaren lost his job following the 3-2 defeat by Croatia at Wembley on Wednesday night, which saw England miss out on their first major international- tournament in 14 years.

The Football Association will now begin their search for a successor and the soul-searching continues for answers to the abject failure of some of the Barclays Premier League's top stars who again failed to deliver for their country.

Wenger, though, reflected on the experiences of France, who failed to reach the 1994 World Cup in the United States, but then won it four years later as hosts.

The Arsenal manager, often criticised for a lack of home-grown talent in his own squad, said: 'I don't think it is a disaster, but it is a massive disappointment.

'It is up to England to see how they respond to the situation now.

'Immediately, in the present, it is a massive handicap. On the future for the World Cup 2010 it can be an advantage if the right measures are taken now.'

Wenger was himself once approached for the England job by the FA, but has always maintained his interest lies only in club football.

The Gunners boss is, though, likely to be one of the footballing minds consulted by current chief executive at Soho Square, Brian Barwick, during the latest selection process.

'I am always happy to help if I can,' Wenger told Arsenal.com.

'I am not sure I am really gifted for that, but if they want to know my opinion - and it is a confidential one - then I am always happy.'

Wenger, who recently agreed a new deal to keep him at Emirates Stadium until 2011, still believes an Englishman would be best suited to the job of national team boss.

'If I was English then of course [I'd be interested],' the Frenchman, 58, said.

'But I am not so it is a `no'. That is in line with what I have always said.

'In my opinion, the England manager should be English.'

The French coach believes 'deep thinking' is needed to ensure there is no repeat of the Euro 2008 qualifying fiasco.

Wenger said: 'I don't want to come out and say what I think these measures should be, but I feel the FA need deep thinking for what happened and find solutions.

'They can't just appoint a new coach and think England will win the World Cup in 2010.

'After France failed to qualify in 1994 [manager] Gerard Houllier was straight away sacrificed in a little bit of a similar game.

'That is a good example for England [because] the France players that lost then became world champions.

'Not all but most. [Emmanuel] Petit, [Didier] Deschamps played in this game and they became world champions and European champions afterwards.

'That is what I mean - don't slaughter the players because the England national team has good players.'