Toshack on the brink

JOHN TOSHACK’S six-year tenure in charge of Wales is poised to come to an end following the 1-0 defeat by Montenegro on Friday.

It is understood Toshack, who took over from Mark Hughes in November 2004, feels he cannot take Wales any further and will tender his resignation this week.

The 61-year-old was unusually downbeat after the loss in Podgorica in the opening round of Euro 2012 qualifiers.

With England hot favourites to win Group G, Toshack admitted another defeat by Bulgaria next month would leave Wales without “too much chance” of making it to Poland and Ukraine in 2012.

Toshack has overseen a huge change in playing personnel, putting an emphasis on youth and fast-tracking youngsters like Gareth Bale, Joe Ledley, Aaron Ramsey, Chris Gunter and Jack Collison into the senior side.

That approach has partly been forced on him by the international retirements of players including Robbie Savage, Gary Speed, Ryan Giggs, Jason Koumas and most recently Simon Davies.

Savage, who has been one of Toshack’s biggest critics since a row with the manager five years ago led to him ending his Wales career, called for the former Real Madrid boss to go over the weekend.

“It is time John Toshack left Wales,’’ the Derby midfielder said.

“I think we need a fresh start, fresh impetus. He has made enough excuses, he has been in the job six years. We need to get the crowds back and I think Toshack has to go.’’

And it seems Savage will get his wish, with the only question being whether Toshack will leave the post before or after the double-header against Bulgaria and Switzerland next month.

Giggs is the early favourite with bookmakers to replace Toshack but it is thought unlikely the Manchester United winger would want to take on the role while he is still playing at the highest level.

Appointing Giggs would be a surefire way to re-ignite waning interest in the national team, and former Wales assistant Mark Bowen believes he could be the right man for the job.

Bowen said: “I’ve seen the names in the frame and Ryan’s got a mention and Chris Coleman. Those are the two that stick out for me.

“Time will tell if Ryan can do it and would want to do it. It would be a steep learning curve.’’

Meanwhile former Wales striker John Hartson has expressed his interest in taking over should Toshack resign.

The 35-year-old, who recently came through a battle with cancer, scored 14 goals for his country in 51 appearances between 1995 and 2005, said he would be interested in the job, despite having no managerial experience.

“Absolutely. There’s nobody that will be more committed and more Welsh than I am,” he said when asked if he would want the job.

“If it was offered to me then obviously I would seriously, seriously think about it. There maybe one or two candidates out there that come before me, I may have to wait my turn, maybe three or four years down the line.

“But if you’re asking me if I would take the job, absolutely. You’d have to be a fool to turn down the national manager’s job.’’


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