Ray Verheijen's managerial warning to Welsh FA on Gary Speed's legacy

Osian Roberts, Raymond Verheijen and Gary Speed
Roberts, Verrheijen and Speed were Wales' managerial team for 12 months

Raymond Verheijen hopes the Football Association of Wales does not "turn their back on Gary Speed's legacy" when appointing the next Wales manager.

Verheijen and Osian Roberts were Speed's assistants before the Wales manager's death in November 2011.

Former Fulham boss Chris Coleman has registered an interest in succeeding Speed but Verheijen wants he and Roberts to continue in the new regime.

"If you bring in a new manager things will change," said Verheijen.

"What we are looking for is not a new manager with new ideas and new people.

"And if the FAW make a decision basically they turn their backs to Gary Speed and go in a different direction - and I think that will be very disrespectful and insensitive.

"We need a figurehead who is willing to adapt to the current backroom staff and set-up because everyone can see we that we have developed a winning formula."

Wales won four of their last five internationals before Speed's shock death in November and in the Fifa rankings in 2011 as they moved to 48th place from 113th in the world.

Coleman, who resigned as manager of Greek side Larissa this week, is a free to take over the Wales job immediately and the former captain admits it would be an "honour" to manage his country.

Asked if the current backroom staff would work with bookies' favourite Coleman, the Dutch coach said he "didn't think it was appropriate to speculate about names".

But Verheijen did state: "I think what we are looking for a figurehead maybe a Wales legend like Ryan Giggs and Ian Rush who are willing to be the figurehead and protect the Wales identity and adapt to the current structure.

"Normally when a manager is sacked and a new manager comes in, the backroom staff have to adapt to the new manager but this is a totally different and a very delicate situation.

"If someone steps in and starts to change things he will risk that things go down and that is not a good idea at all.

"It is also a matter of respecting Gary's legacy so I think it is the responsibility of the FAW to find the right person who fits in the current structure and is willing to adapt to the current set-up."

Premier League champions Manchester United have turned down the Welsh FA's request to talk to former Wales captain Giggs about succeeding Speed, , while Wales' record goal-scorer Rush has also been linked to the vacancy.

Verheijen, who has helped coach the Netherlands, Russia and South Korea at World Cups, said his Wales contract is until 2014 and revealed he "never applied" to be the next national team coach.

Wales star Gareth Bale has told FAW chiefs it would be "absolutely ridiculous" to make significant changes to the Wales management, while captain Aaron Ramsey is frustrated because he has not been consulted by the Welsh FA on who to succeed Speed.

The Football Association of Wales has assembled a six-man panel, led by president Phil Pritchard, to appoint Speed's replacement.

No discussions have taken place with any potential candidates, according to the FAW, and chief executive Jonathan Ford has said it is "too early" to say whether an appointment will be made before their next friendly with Costa Rica in Cardiff on 29 February.

Verheijen also announced his inaugural UK Football Academy symposium at Emirates Stadium has been renamed The Gary Speed Football Congress as a tribute to his former manager who had been due to speak at the 8 February event.

The Gary Speed Football Congress is set to become an annual fundraising event and is supported by Speed's friends and former Newcastle United team-mates Shay Given, Craig Bellamy and Alan Shearer.

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