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By ESPN Staff

Speed backs Home Internationals return

New Wales manager Gary Speed would welcome the return of a Home Internationals tournament - but does not believe it could be an annual event.

• FA: No regular home internationals

The idea of reviving the defunct championship, a regular feature of the football calendar for 100 years until 1984, has been aired this week.

Speed believes a new event involving England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland could be of benefit but has tempered his enthusiasm with a note of caution.

"I think it would be nice to do it once and see how successful it is," Speed said. "I don't think it would be viable to do it every year with the amount of games the players are playing.

"It would then lose its value but if it was possible to do it every few years it might be a good idea.''

The English Football Association have downplayed the possibility of a tournament but are considering inviting all the home nations to Wembley for a series of friendlies to mark their 150th anniversary in 2013.

The Football Association of Wales, however, went a step further yesterday by saying preliminary discussions had been made with a view to including England in that year's edition of the Carling Nations Cup.

The idea has also been given extra impetus by the FA and FAW's newly-announced sponsorship deals with car manufacturer Vauxhall, who are also expected to unveil similar agreements with Northern Ireland and Scotland.

FAW chief executive Jonathan Ford said: "If England did come back into the fold for a competition we would be delighted to take part ourselves.''

The Carling Nations Cup, which takes place for the first time in Dublin in February and May this year, will involve Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Wales' clash with the Republic at the Aviva Stadium in four weeks' time will be Speed's first test as national team boss.

Speed said: "I'm getting out to see lots of games, which is great, but I'm looking forward to that first game. I'm going to have difficulty picking a squad next month because there are so many good players out there.''

Speed's appointment has led to suggestions some of the senior players who retired under predecessor John Toshack, such as Robbie Savage and Ryan Giggs, could return to international football.

Derby midfielder Savage, 36, has made no secret of his desire to come back after being frozen out by Toshack but Speed remains non-committal.

"I speak to Robbie quite often and we'll see what happens,'' he said.

By contrast Manchester United veteran Giggs, 37, would need to be persuaded but Speed has given no indication how any discussions might have gone.

"Again, same with that, I can't say,'' Speed said.

Another player eligible for Wales is Stoke defender Ryan Shawcross, who rejected the chance of a call-up from Toshack last season in the hope of representing England.

The former England Under-21 international, 23, did earn a place in one of Fabio Capello's squads but was not capped and has since been overlooked.

"He has obviously been mentioned but last time we spoke to him he said he was keeping his options open and you've got to respect that,'' Speed said.

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