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Sheffield's Speed on course for Wales' job

13 December 2010 13:09

LONDON (AFP) - Sheffield United manager Gary Speed has been given permission by his club to speak to the Welsh Football Association about taking over as national team coach.

"Sheffield United have given Gary Speed permission to speak to the Welsh FA with regard to the position of international manager, and a further statement is expected to be made on Tuesday," a club statement said.

If the deal goes through, it would represent a remarkable ascent by Speed who only stepped into club management in August, taking over at Bramall Lane from the sacked Kevin Blackwell despite having no previous experience as a boss.

He does however have plenty of experience as a player having been at Leeds, Everton, Newcastle and Bolton, prior to joining Sheffield in the twilight of his career, as well as 85 appearances for Wales, a record for an outfield player.

His managerial record to date is poor with Sheffield having won just six of 18 matches since he took over and they are just two places and one point above the Championship relegation zone.

Speed, though, has long been favourite for the vacant Wales job ahead of Chris Coleman, Brian Flynn, the current Under-21 boss who is also in temporary charge of the senior side, and former Sweden manager Lars Lagerback.

Despite United's poor form, Speed refused to use the speculation linking him to Wales as an excuse.

Following Saturday's 1-0 defeat at South Yorkshire rivals Barnsley, Speed said: "If you're weak-minded you can use that as an excuse, but I'm not using it as an excuse and the players certainly won't be using it as an excuse."

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