Chris Coleman: Wales manager focused on World Cup qualifier

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'Crystal Palace? I'd love to go back' - Chris Coleman teases the media

Manager Chris Coleman says he is focused purely on rejuvenating Wales' hopes and not his long-term future.

Coleman, 46, has a contract until after the 2018 World Cup but has been linked with the vacancy at Crystal Palace as well as hinting he could walk away if Wales lose ground in qualification.

"I said if it comes to a point and we cannot affect our future, I need to sit down with the powers that be," he said.

Wales are third in qualifying group D, four points behind leaders Serbia.

Wales will travel to Serbia for their next qualifier on 11 June after naming a youthful pre-match training camp that included Exeter's 16-year old Ethan Ampadu.

Chris Coleman
Chris Coleman has also managed Fulham, Coventry City, Real Sociedad and Larissa.

However, Coleman has distanced himself from speculation linking him with his former club Crystal Palace, who are seeking a successor to Sam Allardyce.

Allardyce has resigned as the Selhurst Park club's manager, five months after he joined the Premier League club.

"I would love to go back to the Palace - I am not sure Prince Charles is just ready for me yet," joked Coleman, who recently received an OBE at Buckingham Palace.

"All I care about now is Wales. I don't think about after Serbia. I cannot afford to think past one game.

"Lots of things have been said on the back of comments I said at the start of the campaign [about leaving if Wales were not competitive] when I signed a new contract. That hasn't happened yet.

"But honestly I cannot go into a game of football thinking 'if we lose' because then I will have lost, we will have lost and I have never thought like that.

Gareth Bale
Gareth Bale will miss the Serbia game after picking up his second booking of the campaign

"When it comes that we cannot [qualify] - if it comes that we cannot - then there is a conversation to be had.

"But I think we will [qualify]. I am confident we will. I know it's a huge task for us. I still have the same excitement to do the job. I still have the same belief in the players and the team."

Coleman has named a 26-man squad for a training camp at the Vale do Lobo resort in Portugal before the qualifier in Belgrade which follows four successive draws in Group D.

The squad, which is without the suspended Gareth Bale and Neil Taylor, will be reduced to 23 for the trip to Belgrade.

"We are four points behind going to Serbia and we haven't got our best player, what can happen here?" Coleman added.

"I will tell you what can happen. We can go there and get a result that is what can happen.

"And then in the four games remaining we need to be looking at maximum points. We did that in the last campaign so why can't we do it again?

"This is one of the toughest groups but I think we are one of the best teams.

"I don't believe we are far off at all. And I will not start to think if this happens and it's a negative and my future.

"My future is Serbia, Belgrade that is what my future is. Can we produce and can we perform?"

Chris Coleman in action for Crystal Palace
Chris Coleman (right) in action for Crystal Palace

'It would be cowardly to leave now'

When Wales travel to Serbia, they will be returning to the country where Coleman suffered the lowest point of his managerial career - a 6-1 thrashing in 2012.

That is another reason why the former Wales centre-back does not want to leave his role now.

"It wouldn't look very good now if I did jump ship before we go back to Serbia," he added.

"It would look cowardly as well, going back to Serbia where I got my backside spanked.

"It is a game I am really looking forward to. I don't know what is going to happen but I am used to the speculation.

"I am not ready to say to the FAW and Wales and to my players and to ring them up and say thanks for that. I don't think my journey is finished yet. I am not ready to hand this over to someone else, not yet I am not.

"So I am not thinking about anything else other than Serbia that is for sure."

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