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Page last updated at 11:21 GMT, Sunday, 15 August 2010 12:21 UK

Robbie Savage backs Gary Speed for Blades job

Gary Speed
Speed made 85 Wales appearances - a record for an outfield player.

Robbie Savage has backed former Welsh international team-mate Gary Speed to succeed Kevin Blackwell as Sheffield United manager.

United parted company with Blackwell in the immediate aftermath of Saturday's 3-0 home defeat by Queens Park Rangers.

And Savage hopes Speed is promoted from first team coach to Bramall Lane boss.

"Gary Speed now will have a chance to manage in league football," Savage told BBC 5 Live's 606 show. "Gary Speed should get the job."

The Blades spurned Championship rivals Swansea City's approach to former Premier League midfielder Speed about their then vacant managerial role - a job that was later filled by Brendan Rodgers.

"I think he was not given permission to speak to Swansea," said former Wales international Savage.

"Which I thought was a huge surprise so maybe the chairman [Kevin McCabe] and that think it's time for Gary Speed to have a crack."

The 40-year-old made 85 appearances - a record for an outfield player - for Wales while he enjoyed a distinguished top-flight career for 18 years at Leeds United, Everton, Newcastle United and Bolton Wanderers.


Speed, who has completed his Uefa Pro Licence qualification, officially retired from playing at the end of last season to become Blackwell's right-hand-man.

The Blades were beaten 3-0 by QPR on Saturday, conceding three goals in the first 23 minutes as fans at Bramall Lane chanted: "Blackwell Out!"

And a club statement confirmed: "Following the home defeat to QPR, Sheffield United and Kevin Blackwell have jointly agreed to part company with immediate effect."

The Blades currently sit 21st in the Championship table after two games - and Speed is a contender and odds-on favourite to replace Blackwell.

He has often spoken of his desire to become a manager and ultimately manage his country.

United began this season with a 1-1 draw at Cardiff City before being dumped out of the Carling Cup by League One Hartlepool on Wednesday.

Speed reveals Wales ambitions

"Kevin Blackwell has worked tremendously hard over the last two and a half years and his record in terms of results is equal to, if not better than, most previous managers at Bramall Lane," said the club in a statement.

"He will always have a warm welcome at Sheffield United.

"It is time for us to move on because our ambition remains the same in challenging for promotion, hence this decision to look for a new manager to carry on the work Kevin has been doing."

The manager did not appear at the post-match news conference and nodded when asked by reporters if he had been sacked.

Former Leeds and Luton boss Blackwell took charge of United in February 2008 and led them to the play-off final in his first full season, only to lose to Burnley at Wembley.

Last season, the club finished eighth in the Championship despite a late surge for the play-offs.

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see also
Sheff Utd 0-3 QPR
14 Aug 10 |  Championship
Boss Blackwell leaves Sheff Utd
14 Aug 10 |  Sheff Utd
Speed admits managerial ambition
06 Aug 10 |  Sheff Utd
Swansea fail in second Speed bid
12 Jul 10 |  Swansea

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