OWEN Coyle has welcomed his status as one of the favourites to become the next Scotland manager and expressed his willingness to speak to the SFA about the vacancy.
The 46-year-old, who suffered the first significant setback of his managerial career last month when he was dismissed by Bolton Wanderers, revealed he has already rejected job offers from England and overseas as he assesses his next move.
Coyle is regarded by bookmakers as one of the three shortest-priced candidates to take charge of Scotland, along with former Celtic manager Gordon Strachan and new QPR first team coach Joe Jordan.
While Coyle admits he enjoys the day-to-day involvement of club football, he believes the opportunity to manage the Scottish international team is one he would seriously consider.
“I’ve never been in a position where I would turn round and say to any job offer that I’m not interested in it,” said the former Falkirk, St Johnstone and Burnley manager. “Should anyone think I’m worthy of being offered a job, then I’ll listen to them. Ultimately, I’ll make my own decision. I’ve never been afraid to make big decisions in my career.
“I’ve had a couple of approaches in the six weeks or so since I left Bolton, from England and further afield. I heard what they had to say and then decided that they weren’t right for me.
“There is no doubt that the Scotland job is a terrific job for the right candidate. If the Scottish Football Association felt I was one of those candidates and they wanted to speak, then, of course, I’m happy to listen and see what people think – how they want to progress and what they think of yourself and what you can bring to that job.
“I’ve worked as hard as a manager as I did as a player and maximised everything I had. Whatever I enter into, I go in giving everything I’ve got. Although what happened at the end with Bolton was disappointing, I honestly feel I’m now the best manager I’ve ever been at any time in my career. If people felt you were worth speaking to about their club or national job or whatever it is, then I would be flattered if that came to be.”
Jordan’s recruitment by QPR’s new manager Harry Redknapp, who also had the Scottish World Cup legend on his coaching staff at Portsmouth and Tottenham, has underlined the transient state of the list of possible candidates to be considered by the SFA. Since sacking Craig Levein earlier this month, they have stuck to a plan of taking their time to consider his replacement with a short-list currently being compiled by chief executive Stewart Regan. During that period, there is every possibility that Coyle and Strachan could follow Jordan in taking up another position in club football. But Coyle believes the SFA will remain in a position to appoint a high-quality candidate regardless of the circumstances.
“We know how quickly things can change in football,” added Coyle. “It only takes a phone call. That’s just the nature of football, whether it is club or international. You saw it last week when the Ukrainian FA were desperate for Harry Redknapp to come on board. Having spoken to a few people in England last week, I know for a fact that Harry was very keen to take that job.
“Then, all of a sudden, Mark Hughes leaves Queens Park Rangers and Harry goes there. That’s how it works and it’s not for me to to tell anyone how to run their own house. So, although people on the SFA’s list might become unavailable, the flipside of that is that there may be other people currently working who, for whatever reason, suddenly become available.
“There are some fantastic candidates out there for the job right now. Look at Gordon Strachan, for example, and what he has done in the game. There are a number of others out there. The SFA are very fortunate in that respect.”
Scotland’s next match is a friendly against Estonia at Pittodrie on 6 February, before the 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign resumes against Wales at Hampden on Friday
22 March and away to Serbia four days later.