MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Speculation over Ange Postecoglou’s future is set to follow Australia into next month’s World Cup playoff against Honduras after the country’s football boss shed little light on the matter on Monday.
Local media reported last week that Postecoglou would step down after the two-leg playoff, regardless of whether Australia win it and qualify for the finals in Russia next year.
Postecoglou, who is contracted to the end of the World Cup, passed up the chance to deny the report, saying only that he was focused on the Honduras games in a statement issued by Football Federation Australia (FFA).
FFA chief executive David Gallop had little to add when pushed by reporters in Sydney on Monday but poured cold water on suggestions in the media that the 52-year-old might be replaced before the Honduras games to give the team certainty.
“We are focused on Honduras, those are massive games for us both away and (at home),” said Gallop.
“(Postecoglou‘s) focus is on November and knuckling down to the task which is to qualify for our fourth consecutive World Cup.”
A successful former coach in Australia’s domestic top flight, Postecoglou has spoken openly about his ambitions to return to coaching at club level and pursue a role overseas.
News Ltd media reported on Monday that Chinese Super League club Shanghai Shenhua was preparing to table an offer worth $3 million a year to Postecoglou to replace Gus Poyet, who quit last month.
Gallop said he had spoken to Postecoglou “a number of times” and was not convinced he had made up his mind.
“A number of factors go into this kind of thing. He’s made no secret he wants to coach week-in week-out (at club level) again,” he added.
“I think he’s not necessarily indicated that he’s made a decision (on his future). He’s focused on November, and that’s where we’re at.”
Postecoglou he has already confirmed he would not seek another contract if still in charge at the World Cup.
Feted in 2015 for guiding the Socceroos to a maiden Asian Cup title on home soil, he has come under fire this year for his tactics and selections during the final phase of World Cup qualifying.
Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Andrew Both/Nick Mulvenney