Chris Coleman Keeps Job Option Open Despite World Cup Shortfall

Chris Coleman will reflect on Wales’ failure to make the World Cup finals before he makes a decision on his own future.

The manager who guided Wales to the semi-finals of Euro 2016 last year has come to the end of his current contract with the FAW.

Coleman has previously declared the qualification campaign which ended with a 1-0 home defeat to the Republic of Ireland on Monday night would be his last.

But in his recent weeks his tone appeared to soften and he seemed open to the idea on continuing for at least one more crack at a major finals in 2020.

After James McClean scored the only goal of the game to ensure Ireland’s World Cup play-off spot, Coleman said: “Right now all I can think about, picture in my mind, is the faces of the players in the dressing room and the disappointment.

“They are inconsolable at the moment but they should feel very proud. That’s all I can think about.

“I know I’m going to be asked about my situation but I won’t think about that right now.

“I’ll take some time to let the dust settle and then I’m sure we’ll have a sit down and have a chat and we’ll take it from there.”

Coleman has been in charge for just under six years, but the failure of his squad to reach next summer’s finals in Russia means the focus is now on the next Euro qualification campaign which does not begin for another 12 months.

The FAW would like Coleman to continue, but he has repeatedly stressed his ambition to have another crack at managing overseas having twice previously taken jobs in Europe.

When pressed on his chances of continuing with Wales, he added: “There’s a chance that I will, there’s a chance that I won’t.

“I can’t give you any clear answer. The FAW have been great, they’ve left me alone. There’ll be a conversation now, and we’ll see. I’m going to take a bit of time with my children, and when the dust settles, we’ll see where we are.”

The 47-year-old took charge of Wales in testing circumstances in 2012, following the death of Gary Speed in November 2011. After starting at a low base, Coleman helped create a young and vibrant team that reached Euro 2016.

In their first major tournament since the 1958 World Cup, Wales surpassed all expectations reaching the semi-finals on France. The transformation also meant Coleman led the team into the top-ten of the FIFA world rankings.

John Hartson, a former international teammate of Coleman’s, believes a change is more than likely.

Hartson told BBC Radio, “I think it’s a question only Chris will be able to answer.

“Personally, I think he’ll walk away now. I don’t think he will be short of offers. He’s proved himself as the Wales manager and I think he’s lined up for a big job if that’s what Chris wants to do.”

Coleman wished Ireland all the best in their two-legged play-off next month, while bemoaning the lack of creativity that led to their first competitive defeat at home in four years. “We needed that first goal,” he said. “Then we got a bit frustrated, started rushing things. It wasn’t enough in terms of imagination. We didn’t create enough.

“Once we started knocking it long, the Republic back four enjoyed that. In the end, we didn’t look like scoring. We were huffing and puffing on second balls. That’s not our game. We never lacked endeavour, we never lacked passion. We just couldn’t break them down.”

Ireland manager Martin O’Neill toasted a “fantastic performance” achieved without key players in Shane Long, Seamus Coleman and Jon Walters. “We had to withstand a lot of pressure, but every single time they got into the penalty area, we had men there,” he said. “We’re looking forward to the play-offs.”

The identity of Ireland’s opponents will be confirmed after Tuesday’s final group games and next week’s draw in Zurich. The Republic are already guaranteed to be one of the four unseeded teams in the draw, which means they could face Portugal, Italy or Croatia.


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