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Thursday, Dec. 16, 2010

Inexperienced Speed gets Wales job

CARDIFF, Wales (AP) Gary Speed was hired to coach Wales on Tuesday despite the former midfielder's limited managerial experience.

Just four months after being given his first managerial job by Sheffield United, Speed left to join Wales on a 3 1/2-year contract.

"These things happen in football, where the timing's not always great," Speed said. "I was disappointed to leave Sheffield United because I feel I had a job to do there and was fully committed, but obviously when your country comes calling it's a tough decision you have to make. I feel in my heart it's the right one.

"To be fair to them, they've been fantastic throughout and made the decision really easy for me."

On his lack of experience, the 41-year-old Speed accepted that "it's always going to be thrown at me."

But Speed's focus is lifting Welsh soccer "from top to bottom," with the team having failed to qualify for a major tournament since the 1958 World Cup.

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