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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 November 2007, 06:18 GMT
Houllier backed for England job
By Phil McNulty
Chief football writer

Gerard Houllier
Houllier has just been appointed France's technical director
Gerard Houllier must be a candidate to become England coach, says ex-Football Association vice-chairman David Dein.

Former Liverpool boss Houllier took over as France Football Federation technical director after leaving Lyon.

Dein said: "It would be folly to ignore Gerard Houllier, his ability and what he has achieved in the game."

Houllier has support within the FA, but BBC Sport understands there has been no contact as yet, or from the Republic of Ireland, who may also make a move.

Dein, the former Arsenal vice-chairman who brought Houllier's close friend Arsene Wenger to England, was behind the FA's ill-fated move to bring Portugal coach Luiz Felipe Scolari in as successor to Sven-Goran Eriksson.

He said: "Gerard Houllier is not the technical director of the French national team for nothing."

Dein is happy to push the claims of another foreign candidate as England coach, adding: "It was no secret I favoured Luiz Felipe Scolari last time, but everyone said that was heresy.

"A lot of people wanted an England manager when Sven left - now public opinion is saying just go for the best.

"Unfortunately Steve McClaren didn't work out. It would be heresy to say there is no English manager worthy of the job. I just believe you have to go for the best man whatever nationality."

Houllier is likely need some serious persuasion to take over a role with England - not because of the high-profile pressures of the job, but because he has only just taken on a role he has filled successfully in the past with the FFA.

He helped set up France's ground-breaking training centre at Clairefontaine, which was regarded as the catalyst for their World Cup success in 1998 and bringing through a succession of world-class players.

Houllier won the Uefa Cup, the FA Cup and had two League Cup triumphs in a six-year spell at Liverpool before losing his job in 2004, then went on to win back-to-back titles with Lyon in France.

But he remains an influential figure within Uefa's technical department and his success in building up France's coaching structure and system has impressed Dein and others within the FA hierarchy.

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