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Arsene Wenger urged to stay at Arsenal amid England link

Published 01/07/2016

Goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny (far left) hopes manager Arsene Wenger remains at Arsenal, amid reports of interest from the FA over the vacant England job
Goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny (far left) hopes manager Arsene Wenger remains at Arsenal, amid reports of interest from the FA over the vacant England job

Arsene Wenger should stay at Arsenal in a bid to deliver the Premier League title rather than take on the challenge of rebuilding England, according to goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny.

The 66-year-old Frenchman is reported to be on the Football Association's radar once more as the search for a permanent successor to Roy Hodgson continues following an early end to the Three Lions' Euro 2016 campaign with a humiliating defeat to Iceland.

Wenger is heading into the final season of his current contract, with suggestions the Emirates Stadium club are ready to look at another extension.

The Arsenal manager has always stated he believes the England job needs to be filled by an English coach, and Press Association Sport understands this view remains unchanged.

Szczesny came through the youth ranks at Arsenal, before spending last season on loan at Roma following the arrival of Petr Cech.

The 26-year-old, part of the Poland squad which went out of Euro 2016 on penalties to Portugal in Marseille on Thursday night, believes Arsenal's future is best served with Wenger still at the helm.

"I am sure he would be a great thing for England, but my main interest is Arsenal and I hope it doesn't happen, for the sake of Arsenal, not for the sake of England," Szczesny told the London Evening Standard.

"England had a disappointing Euro 2016 and changes will be made but, hopefully, that will not affect our club.

"I hope it is something that will not happen because he is doing a fantastic job at Arsenal and I would love to see him stay."

Szczesny's own Arsenal future may be in doubt, but the Pole believes the Gunners can go one better than their runners-up finish to Leicester last season.

"That's what we love about the Premier League, the competitiveness, so we can't complain about it. Leicester fully deserved the title in what was an amazing story. Maybe it was a missed opportunity for Arsenal but they had a good go and came close," he added.

"It was disappointing for me to see as a fan but with the new signing (Granit) Xhaka and possibly one or two more, we can compete again.

"People have been saying for 20‑odd years that our place in the top four is under threat and we keep finishing there. But I don't think that should be the goal for Arsenal. We should be aiming to win titles and I see a big opportunity next season."

Szczesny says he will take some time to "relax and think about my future", but the speculation over Wenger's potential role within a revamped England set-up is unlikely to dissipate ahead of the new domestic campaign.

Former England caretaker manager Howard Wilkinson believes Wenger's experience would prove invaluable to the FA.

Speaking to Sky Sports, the ex Leeds and Sheffield Wednesday boss, said: "In an ideal world you look at someone who has not managed internationally, but you would think could deal with it as well as anybody in the transformation (and that) is Arsene Wenger.

"I only give that as an example of the sort of accumulation of experience and wisdom etc.

"I think in the long term, (for) the sense of English football in the development of the game in this country, the well-being of the game, I think that an (English) England manager goes up there as a very important criteria."

After missing out on Jamie Vardy, Arsenal are continuing their recruitment drive.

A move for 21-year-old Japan international Takuma Asano appears close, while Lyon frontman Alexandre Lacazette has also been linked, but would come with a price tag of around £45million.

Former Arsenal and England goalkeeper David Seaman has played down suggestions Wenger would be eager to take on a role as national team coach.

Seaman, part of the Gunners' 1997/98 double-winning side and capped 75 times by England, said on Sky Sports: "I would be very surprised if Arsene took that job.

"I think that might be a little too much pressure for him. He is getting on a bit and hopefully he will just step upstairs at Arsenal when he is ready."

Seaman, who played at Euro 96 and also in two World Cup final tournaments, does not believe the FA would necessarily look to make another overseas appointment, despite the perceived lack of English coaches ready to take on the role.

He added: "We have tried that before with Sven (Goran Eriksson) and others, it is just hard. When you look at English managers that are out there, there is not a great deal to choose from.

"But it is the same old thing, we never seem to keep an England manger for very long."

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