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Tuesday, February 16, 1999 Published at 23:38 GMT


Support for Keegan as England boss

Kevin Keegan: Does not want to let Fulham down

Terry Venables and former coach Phil Neal have backed Kevin Keegan as new England manager.

But Venables, who ran the team for two and a half years until Euro 96, admitted he was disappointed at being overlooked for the job by the Football Association.

[ image: Terry Venables:
Terry Venables: "Disappointed" by lack of offer
Venables said Keegan could successfully juggle the England top job with his current role as manager at Fulham.

"I think Kevin will be a very, very good appointment," he told Talk Radio Sportzone.

"There's no doubt the country wants him, and he's a very popular guy. It just depends on whether he really wants it. If he's got a problem there with Fulham I'm sure that will be taken into consideration by the FA.

"If he's got people he can rely on in both camps there's no reason why he can't do the job. The man's the right man, so let's give it to him."

Venables resigned as England manager after leading his country to the European Championship semi-finals because of his involvement in various court cases.

[ image:  ]
But he said he was upset that he was not considered for a comeback. "I think it's fair to say I was disappointed. I haven't been put in a position where I've had to decide whether to do it or not, because I've never been officially approached.

"I think my international career was ruined by maybe one or two people at the FA. After I left the job I did criticise people at the FA but I think it was fairly soft criticism compared to what I might have said.

"If that was enough to rule me out of the job then so be it."

Venables also believes Keegan can also keep on good terms with the media.

"Basically, I think if you are reasonable and you don't mislead the press you'll be okay. What you give comes back to you.

"It's not your supporters who motivate you, but your enemies. They can give you a spring in your step."

Keegan has reportedly been offered a four-year deal by the FA but has warned them he is still keen to honour his contract at Fulham - which runs until June 2000.

'Players will love him'

Phil Neal, a team-mate of Keegan's at Liverpool for three years, believes the FA are right to target the Fulham manager as a replacement for Glenn Hoddle, who resigned after his controversial comments about the disabled.

Neal said: "Whether he manages full time or part-time, that is a decision the FA must make."

He told Sky News: "I think he is a bit like [Bill] Shankly, the players will love him. They need to feel good and relaxed and committed to the England jersey. Kevin will certainly get that from the players.

"Kevin will get through to the players and he will make them feel 10 feet tall."

Keegan met with the FA on Monday and looks likely to replace Howard Wilkinson for next month's European qualifier against Poland.

Negotiations are expected to continue on Wednesday but the FA have maintained they are keeping their options open.

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