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Rafa Benitez stunner - 'England job might tempt me'

By Tony Barrett, Liverpool Echo

Rafa Benitez

RAFA Benitez today sensationally refused to commit his future to Liverpool.

In an extraordinary Melwood press conference the Reds boss even allowed himself to be linked with the England manager's job, which was vacated earlier today by Steve McClaren.

The usually affable Benitez was clearly in a bad mood and chose his words carefully throughout the ten minute long press conference.

On several occasions he was asked the kind of questions which he usually answers without even thinking but instead of doing that he chose to brush them off with the same cryptic answer.

When asked about England's performance against Croatia, he responded: "I prefer to concentrate on training and coaching my team."

When asked about the threat Newcastle will pose to Liverpool on Saturday, he answered: "I am focusing on coaching and training my team."

He delivered the very same answer on at least ten more occasions.

One of the few questions Benitez was prepared to answer concerned the national team manager's job.

Asked if he would consider taking over from Steve McClaren if the job was offered to him, he said: "You never know what might happen, maybe."

Just last week, Benitez appeared to commit himself to a long term future with Liverpool when he talked of emulating the 21 years Sir Alex Ferguson has spent at Old Trafford.

But today's comments throw into doubt that previously held ambition and suggest all is far from well at Anfield.

The inference which could be taken from the press conference is that Benitez is not happy with the backing, or a perceived lack of it, he is receiving from the club's American owners.

The Reds boss gave this theory further credence when he admitted to being frustrated with life at Anfield but he would not expand on what he meant by this.

But by refusing to commit his future to the club and allowing himself to be linked with another job it appears he has basically delivered a "Back me or sack me" ultimatum to Tom Hicks and George Gillett.

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