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Chris Coleman calls for shake-up if he stays in Wales hotseat

By Phil Blanche

Published 13/10/2015

New deal: Chris Coleman is set for contract talks with Wales
New deal: Chris Coleman is set for contract talks with Wales

Chris Coleman will demand changes be made in Welsh football if he is to build on the success of qualifying for Euro 2016.

Coleman has steered Wales to their first major tournament since the 1958 World Cup and the nation is preparing for its biggest-ever football party in tonight's final qualifier against Andorra in Cardiff.

The 45-year-old Wales manager is contracted until the end of next summer's European Championship, with talks planned soon over a new deal to take him into the 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign.

But Coleman seems likely to insist on certain changes behind the scenes if that is to happen, and he has promised to "rattle a few cages" with Football Association of Wales power-brokers.

"We're on the way to France and nothing would make me leave Wales now," Coleman said at his pre-match press conference at the Cardiff City Stadium.

"All I'm focused on is the European Championship and I'm trying to enjoy the moment because it is one we have never experienced, but we need to make changes - about staff and how we run the structure - because we need to keep pushing forward even though we've qualified.

"You can never be in a position where you feel comfortable because once that happens you never keep achieving. So it's up to me to rattle a few cages and say 'okay, we've done that, but to get there we need to change certain things'. That plan may backfire, but if you want to be original you've got to be prepared to take criticism and do something you really believe in."

Asked if the rejection of his plans would preclude him from signing a new deal as Wales manager, Coleman replied: "I've no idea. It's not as if I've got a huge game-plan which is completely different and they're going to say, 'what's that?'

"But we need to improve and I need that conversation with the powers that be that I want to do it a bit differently."

Coleman says he will make a few changes for Andorra after the emotional and physical energy spent in Saturday's 2-0 defeat in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

But Gareth Bale is set to start after coming through his first 90 minutes since suffering a calf injury playing for Real Madrid last month.

The Wales manager said Real boss Rafael Benitez had sent his assistant Osian Roberts a text message congratulating them on qualifying for Euro 2016 - and Coleman described Madrid as "first class" in their relationship as far as Bale was concerned.

"We've got Andorra (on Tuesday) and I should be working on that, but this is not a normal time in Welsh football," Coleman said.

"I just keep looking at the table and it's always nice to see - I've never seen Wales spelled with 'Q' in it!"

Wales are still searching for high-profile opposition in November after being turned down by some of European football's biggest nations for a friendly fixture.

Coleman, who will make a third visit to France next month to run the rule over potential Euro 2016 training camps, said Portugal could prove an attractive option, and that a meeting between Real team-mates Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo could even be staged at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium.

Belfast Telegraph

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