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By Tim Collings

Written by: Staff

ZURICH, Apr 25 (Reuters) Sepp Blatter gave a heavy hint today that he would much prefer England to appoint an English national soccer coach instead of another foreigner in succession to departing Swede Sven-Goran Eriksson.

The FIFA president told reporters that in his personal opinion it was a tradition for the major football nations to employ only indigenous coaches.

''I am very surprised that England changed this way and are considering it again. I don't think it has happened in other countries like Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil and Argentina.'' British media reported at the weekend Brazilian Luiz Felipe Scolari had emerged as a serious candidate, prompting bookmakers to slash his odds from 16-1 to 2-1. Middlesbrough manager Steve McClaren is now a 4-5 chance having been at 2-5.

Blatter said: ''I heard on the BBC World Service yesterday that Scolari, who was world champion with Brazil, and the Middlesbrough manager are being considered.

''My personal opinion, and I was once a coach, is that when you speak to your players - and in a national team they are all one nationality - you should speak their language. This is the first thing in order to motivate a national team.

''But this principle has been over-ruled several times, so much so that we have had demands from different associations that when the manager goes on the sidelines to give instructions, he should be allowed to be helped by an interpreter.'' REUTERS PM HT1910

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