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Frank Stapleton becomes Ray Wilkins' assistant with the Jordan national team


Frank Stapleton

Frank Stapleton


Frank Stapleton

Ray Wilkins will move to Jordan next week to begin a five-month spell in charge of the country's national team.

The 57-year-old, who most recently worked as assistant head coach at Fulham last season under Rene Meulensteen, will be assisted by former Arsenal and Republic of Ireland forward Frank Stapleton.

The former England international will lead the team at the AFC Asian Cup in Australia in January.

"I am relocating, Frank and I will be moving out in the middle of next week, so we will be putting a lot of time and effort into the job," Wilkins told Sky Sports News.

"It's only for five months, it's not a long term thing, it's just until we get the Asian Cup over with. They've reached the quarter-finals on the last two occasions, so let's hope we can go a couple better.

"We are going to go down there (to Australia) in January and attempt to achieve something with them. I saw the guys train, they look a very lively bunch, so we're looking forward to getting stuck in.

"I won't be seeking any advice, we'll just get out there and we're going to crack on. We're going to train the guys to try and get to a little bit of a better fitness level."

The Jordan Football Association (JFA), which announced the appointment on its official website, said Wilkins would take charge of the team after their friendlies against Uzbekistan on Thursday and China five days later.

His first match in charge will be against Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur on October 11.

At the 2015 AFC Asian Cup Jordan are in the same group as Japan, Iraq and Palestine.

Jordan are ranked 56th in the world by FIFA, sandwiched between Finland and South Korea and 10 places above the Republic of Ireland.

The JFA said its president HRH Prince Ali Bin Al-Hussein had chosen Wilkins. It said Wilkins had accompanied Prince Ali to the team's training session on August 28 to "take a closer look at the team and observe the technical and fitness side of Al-Nashama (the team's nickname)".

The JFA said he had then studied videos of the team's matches.

Jordan have never qualified for the World Cup, but only missed out on a place in Brazil this summer by losing a play-off to Uruguay, 5-0 on aggregate.

And Wilkins admitted a successful Asian Cup campaign could persuade him to continue in the role and lead the team into the 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign.

"If we were to be successful - and please God we are - then I would certainly have to look at it, but I would certainly have to look at my family situation as well," he said.

Wilkins, who won 84 caps for England and has also coached at Chelsea, joined the Fulham staff last December, but lasted less than two months before leaving when Felix Magath came in as manager in February.

Online Editors