Coleman still undecided on Wales future after Panama draw

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Liverpool forward Ben Woodburn is one of the new generation of Wales players that manager Chris Coleman has brought into the senior set-up

Chris Coleman believes he is still the man to lead Wales – but admits he is unsure about his future as manager.

Coleman’s contract expires at the end of November and he is set to hold talks about a new deal.

Wales drew 1-1 with Panama in Tuesday’s friendly, in which Coleman gave four players their debuts and another three their first starts.

“I hope that’s not going to be the last game. I don’t know, if I’m honest with you,” said the 47-year-old.

“I think I am the man to lead them but there is a bit more to it than that. I never lose the desire to represent Wales.

“If I don’t stay on I’m going to be joining a long list of other managers that are out of work, looking for new employment. There are only two scenarios: I will either be here or not.

“How quickly I go to another club, I’ve no idea – 24 hours is a long time in football. I am sitting here with no idea what is coming. I have already said if everything is right [I want to stay with Wales].”

Coleman has held informal talks with Football Association of Wales bosses, but had put official discussions on hold until this month’s friendly matches against France and Panama had passed.

As well as assurances about his own contract, he also wants full-time deals for head of performance Ryland Morgans and psychologist Ian Mitchell.

Appointed in 2012, Coleman is the most successful manager in Welsh football history having guided his country to their first major semi-final at Euro 2016.

However, Wales failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup after losing at home to the Republic of Ireland in October.

Wales’ Panama promise has ‘no bearing’ on Coleman future – John Hartson

Coleman remains popular among Wales fans, who chanted “we want you to stay” on numerous occasions during Tuesday’s draw with Panama at the Cardiff City Stadium.

“It’s a funny one because I don’t know what’s going to happen. But a huge, huge thank you. These are our core fans,” Coleman added.

“These are the fans that in the first 12 to 18 months, in my experience here, they didn’t like me much [laughs]. But I didn’t mind because they were the only fans that showed up for us – 9,000-10,000 people.

“I didn’t mind them booing because at least they paid the money to come and support their country and they’re still doing it. So a huge thank you to them. It was nice they were singing my name and I appreciate that.”

Wales’ players have urged Coleman to stay and the captain against Panama, Chris Gunter, said it would be “madness” if the manager was to leave.

“I will tell you what I said [to the players after the Panama game]. I said if this is my last experience with them, they have been a pleasure. We have been through a lot,” said Coleman.

“I can remember sitting here for the Costa Rica game [a memorial game for the late Gary Speed]… I’m sitting here six years later with incredible experiences, bonds and friendships that will never be broken.

“It’s all down to the players, an incredible bunch and they’ll keep achieving because they are all at a good age.

“I think there’s still a little hangover because we never got to the [2018 World Cup] play-offs and we’re not going to Russia, that will burn for a while that, we’re all still hurting over that, but that will subside, that will move on.”



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