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Last Updated: Saturday, 30 June 2007, 09:42 GMT 10:42 UK
Saunders is new Wales number two
Dean Saunders
Saunders scored 22 goals in 75 appearances for Wales
Former international striker Dean Saunders has been appointed assistant manager of Wales.

The 43-year-old replaces Salvador Iriarte, who has been appointed director of football at Real Sociedad.

Saunders has been out of work since losing his job as assistant manager at Newcastle in February last year.

"I am really very proud and excited to be given this opportunity," said Saunders, who won 75 caps for Wales and scored 22 goals.

"I have been brought-in to help, but I also expect to learn a great deal from working alongside John [Toshack, manager] and Roy [Evans, assistant].

"I was always honoured to wear the Welsh jersey and I know I will get the same feeling by being a part of the coaching team and helping John build his side for the future."

606: DEBATE
MC

Toshack and Wales had hoped Iriarte would be able to combine his new club role with his international duties.

But that option was ruled out when it emerged that many of Sociedad's games would clash with Wales fixtures.

Iriarte's final job for Wales will be to watch Euro 2008 opponents Germany in August's friendly with England at Wembley.

Saunders, who holds a Uefa Pro Licence coaching qualification, left Newcastle when manager Graeme Souness was sacked.

He was interviewed in February for the vacant manager's role at Swansea City, where his playing career began in 1982 under Toshack.

Saunders was also an unsuccessful candidate for the Wales job in 2004, but his appointment now makes him a serious contender to take over when Toshack goes.

As well as playing under Toshack, Saunders had a season at Liverpool when Evans was assistant manager to Souness at Anfield.

Saunders will link-up with Wales for the first time in August when the side faces Bulgaria as preparation for the Euro 2008 matches with Germany and Slovakia in September.



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