Ray Wilkins backs Guus Hiddink for permanent Chelsea job
Published 03/03/2016 | 23:31
Ray Wilkins considers Guus Hiddink to be the "ideal" candidate to become Chelsea's permanent manager and fears the other reported contenders for the role lack the experience of English football to succeed.
Chelsea have lost only once since Hiddink returned to the club on an interim basis to succeed the sacked Jose Mourinho in December, but for all of the improvement he has overseen neither he nor Chelsea have suggested he is likely to remain beyond the end of the season.
Italy boss Antonio Conte, Diego Simeone of Atletico Madrid and Juventus' Massimiliano Allegri are among those linked with a move to Stamford Bridge, but Wilkins wants to see Hiddink remain in charge.
"For me, (Hiddink's) the ideal person to take over,"said Wilkins, who was Chelsea's assistant during Hiddink's last spell at the club.
"You can see the way he's galvanised the squad, and the whole squad.
"They're putting in a great shift of work and looking as if they're going to win more games than they lose. It's going to be very, very interesting to see where they can finish.
"You're now seeing the team coming together and playing some really good football, which gears them up fantastically for the big game they've got against Paris St Germain (in the Champions League on Wednesday).
"The guys mentioned, I think Simeone has done a magnificent job at Atletico Madrid but again you've got the language barrier, I don't know if he speaks English. Antonio Conte, I don't know whether he speaks it. Guus does, he has the full package for me, it's whether he would want to do it himself.
"When you bring in a new player you give him time to settle down, I think it's the same with managers to be perfectly honest. If they haven't managed in the Premier League then it's basically a very different set of rules you're coming into.
"You don't get rest at Christmas. Everybody seems to bring that up when it comes to Christmas time, all the managers who haven't managed here before.
"Guus knows how it works, he knows the Premier League, he knows the amount of effort the players have to put in. Our league is played with the most high intensity of any of the leagues in the world."
Hiddink's potential summer departure could coincide with that of John Terry, who will leave if he is not offered a new contract.
The club captain is sidelined with a groin injury but hopes to return against PSG on Wednesday, and asked if Terry's contract should be extended, Wilkins replied: "Most certainly. The way he's played in the second half of the season, he's been outstanding.
"He's still looked one of the best defenders in the Premier League by a long way. They need cover in that area anyway, and he's still one of the best there is, so I don't see why they're umming and ahhing.
"I'm pleased Frank (Lampard left Chelsea) at the top of the tree and is now enjoying his life in New York but with John it's different. He's got the legs and he's got the intelligence to still play at centre-half."
:: Ray Wilkins was speaking at the London Football Awards in London, raising funds for national charity Willow. For more information, visit londonfootballawards.org.