Coleman insists his successor should be a 'passionate Welshman'

Reporter:

Nick Harrison

Chris Coleman has called for a "passionate Welshman" to replace him at the helm of the national team following his sudden departure.

Coleman, the 47-year-old who guided Wales to the semi-finals of Euro 2016, has joined Championship side Sunderland on a two and a half year deal after failing to secure qualification for next summer's World Cup in Russia.

Former Manchester United midfielder Ryan Giggs, West Brom manager Tony Pulis, and ex-Wales captain Craig Bellamy are among the early contenders to take over from him.

And Coleman - breaking his silence for the first time since he agreed to join the Black Cats as he turned on the Christmas lights in Newport - believes his replacement should be Welsh.

"It needs to be a passionate Welshman for me," said Coleman when asked about the identity of his successor.

"He should work to fulfil what the whole nation is looking towards which is a good team with some good young players coming through. But obviously it is not my decision. That will be the powers that be."

Coleman was appointed Wales manager in extremely difficult circumstances in January 2012 following the death of his great friend Gary Speed.

The former Fulham and Real Sociedad boss struggled at first and Wales' 6-1 World Cup qualifying defeat in Serbia led to some fans calling for his dismissal.

But Coleman was to lead Wales to their first major tournament for 58 years before a last-four defeat against eventual winners Portugal in last summer's championships.

Sunderland parted company with Simon Grayson earlier this month - and despite their 2-2 draw against Millwall on Saturday - Coleman will inherit a side rooted to the foot of the table.

Coleman, whose appointment was confirmed yesterday, flew to Wearside ahead of his first match in charge at Aston Villa tomorrow.

"We are all passionate Welshmen and women so a huge thank you for everything you have done for me and the team over the past six years," Coleman added as he addressed the crowd on Saturday evening. "You have been absolutely amazing."

FAW chief executive Jonathan Ford said: "We are extremely disappointed to see Chris' tenure as Wales manager come to an end.

"The FAW and Wales as a nation will be eternally grateful for the job he has done over the last six years as national team manager, from travelling the length and breadth of Wales outside of the media spotlight to talk to players and supporters, to guiding us to the semi-finals of the European Championships.

"We wish Chris the very best of luck for the future as he returns to club management, a desire for which he has always been honest and open about."

Assistant manager Kit Symons has also resigned and is expected to join Coleman at the Stadium of Light.

Wales' failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup triggered a break clause in Coleman's contract that Sunderland were able to take advantage of.

Email:

nick.harrison@nwn.co.uk

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