Villa consider McClaren for job

The midlands club are believed to have sounded out several

contenders to see if they are available and interested in the post

– including former England coach McClaren, who is known to be keen

to return to the Premier League. Villa owner Randy Lerner and chief

executive Paul Faulkner will draw up the final shortlist before

looking to start conducting interviews on a formal basis, probably

at the end of this week. Wigan boss Roberto Martinez is also

understood to have impressed Lerner after helping the Latics avoid

relegation and he has still to sign a new three-year contract.

Lerner would ideally like to have Houllier’s successor in place by

mid-June. That would give him time to assess the strengths and

weaknesses of the current squad and potential transfer targets

before Villa report back for pre-season training on July 7.

McClaren has been much derided for his 17 months spell in charge of

England after the 2006 World Cup. But he has a successful record at

club level, winning the League Cup and reaching the UEFA Cup final

with Middlesbrough. After his unhappy England spell, McClaren

returned to management with FC Twente and guided the Enschede

outfit to the Dutch title although he then had an unhappy time with

German club Wolfsburg and was sacked. Two other candidates, Carlo

Ancelotti and Martin Jol, have now slipped out of the picture for

differing reasons. Former Chelsea manager Ancelotti is taking a

year’s break from coaching while Jol has been appointed Fulham boss

in succession to Mark Hughes – the early bookmakers’ favourite for

the Villa post. In the long term, former Villa defender Martin

Laursen has indicated he would like the chance to manage the club.

Laursen, forced to retire with a knee problem two years ago, will

take his coaching badges later this year. He said: “It would be

great to be Villa manager one day. That would be a big dream. But

that’s a long way off.”