Alan Pardew believes managing England in the “pinnacle for any Englishman’s career” but insists he is happy at Crystal Palace and remains entirely focused on his job at Selhurst Park.
The 55-year-old is one of the names linked to the vacant role as England boss after Sam Allardyce left the job after just 67 days and one game in charge.
Allardyce’s short reign came to an end after his contract was terminated by mutual consent on Tuesday after he was secretly filmed by the Daily Telegraph making a series of controversial comments.
Pardew, who has been at Palace since January 2015, said he was “proud” to be in the select group being touted as Allardyce’s possible replacement but will be focusing purely on his current position.
“(Bournemouth manager) Eddie Howe said this morning it was the pinnacle for any Englishman’s career, I agree with that.
“I’m so lucky to have this football club where it is right now, the chairman and I have a great relationship. They have shown me great faith and I have a team I have a good feeling about. This football club at this time is where I want to be.
“It holds a special place for me as I played here, that is where my focus is entirely right now.”
Southgate gets Pardew backing
Gareth Southgate has been named as Allardyce’s replacement on a temporary basis and will take charge for the next four England games.
The former Middlesbrough boss played alongside Pardew during their time together at Palace and has been backed by his ex-team-mate to do well in the role.
“They have a good manager in charge in Gareth, he has been through the system and knows the players coming through,” Pardew said of the man who steps up from the England Under-21 position.
“I have respect for him as a player, I played with him, and as a coach and a manager – he has a bit of an X-factor about him. He has four games guaranteed, I think he will do well and I hope he does.”
Who will replace Sam Allardyce as England boss?
As well as Pardew and Howe, the likes of Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and former Hull boss Steve Bruce have been linked with the national team vacancy.
“Of course I’m privileged and proud to be in that small group that is going to be linked with it, that I’m not going to shy away from,” Pardew added.
“The other part is the focus I have to do here and return their loyalty to me, that won’t shake, I won’t let that happen to me.”
Earlier, Jurgen Klinsmann distanced himself from the England job by tweeting: “No truth to the rumors regarding England” – adding on US Soccer’s official website: “Our entire focus is on November 11, when Columbus will rock.”
Wenger, meanwhile, was also nonplussed, saying: “I am focused 100% on Arsenal and my priority will always be to this club. Nothing will change on that.”