England job like a manager-eating crocodile says Wenger

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LONDON, Nov 24 (Reuters) Being coach of England's soccer team is like putting your head in the mouth of a crocodile, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said today.

The Frenchman has said he is not interested in succeeding Steve McClaren who was sacked on Thursday after England failed to qualify for Euro 2008.

''It's like a crocodile,'' said Wenger, forming his hands into a pair of jaws. ''When four or five have jumped in and been eaten, the sixth one says 'I'm not going to jump in there'.'' Speaking after Arsenal's 2-0 home win over Wigan had given the London side a three-point lead at the top of the Premier League, Wenger said he would be happy to offer advice to the English Football Association if asked but added there were ''not many (English) candidates''.

He said he believed it was a matter of principle that the next manager should be English. ''The national football team represents the country, the culture of the country and the leader of your national team should be (English),'' said Wenger.

In his match programme notes, he said he went to bed on Wednesday night after England's 3-2 defeat by Croatia ''very sad and choked''.

''It was a massive disappointment and I have been in the job long enough to anticipate what is coming next - the quick sanctions and quick sacrifices of people.

''Immediately in the present, failure to qualify is a massive handicap. On the future, for the next World Cup, however, it can be an advantage if the right measures are taken now,'' he said.

''I don't want to come out and say what I think these measures should be, but I feel the FA need deep thinking for what happened and find solutions.

''They can't just appoint a new coach and think England will win the World Cup in 2010.'' He pointed to the experience of his native country which failed to qualify for the 1994 World Cup but won the 1998 tournament, on home soil, and the 2000 European Championship.

''Don't slaughter the players, because the England national team has good players,'' he said, adding though that England had weak points in their team which meant they would never have won a major tournament.

Reuters TB VP0043

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