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Page last updated at 16:33 GMT, Tuesday, 9 June 2009 17:33 UK

Speed in line for Swansea talks

By David Dulin

Gary Speed
Gary Speed won 85 caps for Wales between 1990 and 2004

Swansea City have made an approach to Sheffield United for permission to speak to Gary Speed about becoming Roberto Martinez's successor.

The Swans have been given permission by Championship rivals United to talk to the former Wales captain.

The 39-year-old is a player-coach under boss Kevin Blackwell at Bramall Lane and has a year left on his United deal.

Martinez is to be named Wigan boss on Wednesday and Speed is on the Swans shortlist to be their next manager.

The former Everton, Newcastle United, Leeds United and Bolton Wanderers midfielder has taken his Uefa pro licence coaching qualifications and has made no secret of his desire to one day become a manager.

First team coach Speed helped United make the Championship play-off final under Blackwell's guidance and it is thought the 85-times capped Welshman would be keen to make the step up to management with the Swansea.

Gary Speed
Name: Gary Andrew Speed
Born: Mancot, Flintshire on 8 September, 1969
Clubs: Leeds United, Everton, Newcastle United, Bolton Wanderers, Sheffield United
Club stats: 840 appearances, 134 goals
Internationals appearances: 85 Wales caps, 7 goals
Did you know?: The most-capped Welsh outfield player went to the same high school as Michael Owen and room-shared with best mate Alan Shearer during his time at Newcastle

Swans chairman Huw Jenkins feels Speed is a prime candidate to replace Martinez when the Spaniard is confirmed as Premier League side Wigan Athletic's boss on Wednesday.

Jenkins, though, is understood to have made enquiries to other possible managerial targets after he admitted that he has had "at least 30 very, very good contenders" for the soon-to-be vacant post.

The Spaniard is set to complete his move to Wigan on Wednesday and Jenkins has revealed that 100 people have contacted him about the post.

Exeter City manager Paul Tisdale and former Watford boss Aidy Boothroyd have been linked to the post.

Exeter vice-chairman Julian Tagg refused to confirm or deny whether Swansea had requested to talk to Tisdale but he did say: "We have had a number of enquiries for Paul and he has spoken to a couple of clubs."

While former Swansea players Alan Knill, now manager at Bury, and Jimmy Gilligan, who is part of the England Under-21 set-up, are apparently interested.

"I would love to get things sorted as quickly as I can," Jenkins told BBC Sport Wales.

Jenkins has a history of giving young managers their chance under his reign at the Liberty Stadium as Kenny Jackett started his managerial career in Swansea before he was replaced by another untested manager in Martinez in 2007.

Jenkins' philosophy of employing rookie managers has been successful as Jackett completed promotion to League One from League Two in 2005.

Then when Martinez replaced Jackett in 2007, he led Swansea to the League One title by 10 points in 2007/08 season - in his first full season in charge.

Martinez went onto to inspire the Swans to within six points of the Championship play-offs last season.

Speed - who has made more than 800 appearances in his 21 years as a player - struggled with a back injury last season but insisted his playing career was not over.

So Speed may have the opportunity to follow in the successful footsteps Martinez and Jackett and be the next young manager given his head by Swansea.

Jenkins said: "There's a lot of wide-ranging applications and, to be fair, this is going to be the hardest decision I'm going to have to make and the board have to make.

"The level of contenders has greatly got better over the last seven years but, to be honest, we don't want to be in this position of looking for managers every two or three years.

"We are looking for the right person to stay with us and develop the club over a period."

Jenkins also stressed the importance of continuing the passing style of football that Martinez earned the plaudits for during his two-and-a-half years in charge.


"That's a priority," he said. "When we appointed Roberto, football was very much in his mind. We knew the type of players we had at the club.

"We knew Roberto at the time would get the best out of them which it proved.

"We want to make sure Swansea City are still going to be renowned for good football.

"I think we should keep that at the club as much as we can and get the right person in to complement that."

Jenkins wants a new manager in place ahead of pre-season training which starts at the end of the month.

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see also
Swansea chief fears player loss
09 Jun 09 |  Swansea
Wigan explain Martinez deal delay
12 Jun 09 |  Wigan
Life after Roberto Martinez
08 Jun 09 |  Swansea
Martinez exit disappoints Jenkins
07 Jun 09 |  Swansea
Cruyff backs Martinez's decision
06 Jun 09 |  Swansea
Speed says career is not over yet
19 Dec 08 |  Sheff Utd
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Oct 11 |  Wales

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