sport

Guardiola declares Prem interest

Pep Guardiola has followed Jose Mourinho's lead in stating his desire to manage in England at some point in his career.

Although Mourinho has never been shy at declaring his love for the Premier League, Guardiola has been more guarded about his responses.

Indeed, the favoured option at present for when he resumes his coaching career after taking his year's sabbatical is German giant Bayern Munich.

However, using the same FA video messaging platform from which Mourinho restated his intentions earlier this week, Guardiola has outlined the lure English football holds for him too.

"As a player, I couldn't realise my dream to play there," he told FATV.

"But I hope, in the future, I have a challenge to be a coach there and feel the experience of all the coaches and players that have been there.

"It is unique, to play in that league. I want to feel the supporters, the environment, the media and the style of the players.

"I have always found English football fascinating. The support of the home team is amazing.

"In Italy, Latin people will support you when they are playing and when you lose, they kill you. In England, I'm always surprised that people support everything.

"That is nice and why, maybe, as I am still young, just 41, I hope to have the challenge or the opportunity to train there."

With Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United all heavily linked with the highly-rated former Barcelona coach, Guardiola is not short of options.

And whilst he never played league football, he does have direct experience of English crowds as both a player and coach, lifting the European Cup in 1992 when Barca beat Sampdoria, then as a coach 19 years later when the Catalans swept Manchester United aside with clinical efficiency.

"I am a lucky guy, because I had the opportunity to play two finals, both in England at Wembley," said Guardiola.

"That's why my relationship with England is pretty close.

"The new Wembley doesn't have the history that the old stadium had, but overall, because of how we played that game, I like (the new Wembley)."

Guardiola's message will be played out at the lavish ceremony at the Connaught Rooms in central London, where football's first rulebook was drafted.

Scores of football dignitaries will be in attendance with every living former England manager amongst those invited.

With high-profile friendlies against Brazil, Republic of Ireland and Scotland already arranged, it promises to be a memorable year, with Pele confirmed as guest of honour at the inaugural player of the year awards' night at St George's Park on Sunday, February 3.

The FA will use Wednesday's event to showpiece the huge amount of work they do, both at the highest level and, more importantly, the grassroots game given they are responsible for all seven million officially registered players in England.

It is an undertaking that should not go unrecognised.

"I want to say congratulations to the FA on this huge anniversary, because 150 years is a lot," said Guardiola.

"But also because they created the rules of football and have a responsibility for the game. They have been important in the development of our beautiful game."