Former Tottenham and Paris Saint-Germain boss Mauricio Pochettino has told Sky Sports News he is “open” to a managerial return with a national team.
The 50-year-old has been out of work since the summer after being sacked by PSG in July and was linked with the Aston Villa job last month, before Unai Emery was appointed as Steven Gerrard’s replacement.
But the Argentine’s next managerial step could come internationally with the former Southampton boss revealing he would be interested in taking charge of a national team.
He exclusively told Sky Sports News in Qatar: “It wasn’t under my consideration to go [into international management] but now, yes I am open. Why not?
“Yes, of course we are still young, full of energy, and day-by-day I like the adrenaline to train, to be involved. Maybe the national team is a different job, but why not.
“If it’s not the next job, then maybe in the future.
“It’s not specific that all I want is Argentina. If another country, why not? For sure, that would be good also.”
‘England’s quality means they’ll be feared’
England qualified for the knockout stages of the World Cup on Tuesday night with an emphatic 3-0 victory over Wales to set up a last-16 clash against Senegal on Sunday.
Pochettino has been following the World Cup in Qatar and believes England have a great chance of winning their first major tournament since 1966.
He said: “France or different national teams could be in trouble when they face England.
“England have the quality to be one of the teams with an opportunity to win the World Cup.
“I saw a very good performance against Wales, and I believe the quality is there. It’s all about believing and performing in a way which can grant you the possibility to be there.
“But I really, really believe this year England can fight to try to lift the World Cup.
“[Gareth] Southgate is doing a fantastic job. He was a little bit unlucky in the final of the Euros against Italy, but he’s doing a fantastic job and deserves a lot of credit.”
Poch: I’ve always liked Rashford
Marcus Rashford starred for England on Tuesday night as he scored twice against Wales in a player-of-the-match performance.
The Manchester United forward was reportedly a target for PSG in the summer and Pochettino revealed he is a huge admirer of the 25-year-old.
“I’ve always liked [Rashford],” he said. “I knew of his process because I was in England, but I think he’s a great player.
“He just needs the confidence and for himself to believe, to put him at the top level. The quality is there for him.”
‘Messi doesn’t need to win World Cup to be one of the greatest’
Former Argentina midfielder Pochettino has also backed his home nation to improve at the tournament after a rocky start saw them suffer a shock defeat to Saudi Arabia before recovering with a 2-0 win over Mexico.
He said: “Argentina’s performances are going up. It was tough for the big names like Argentina and Germany in the first games, but I think the performances are getting better and better.
“I think we saw many games where the principle thing was fight. We didn’t see great quality, only in a few games. But I think it’s going to improve, and Argentina are most certainly in that place.
“Because of the preparation, only having one week to organise things, we are going to see better performances from teams as it goes on.”
Pochettino managed fellow countryman Lionel Messi at PSG but feels it is not imperative for the 35-year-old to lift the World Cup to cement his legacy.
“Messi doesn’t need to win the World Cup to be one of the greatest, in my point of view,” he said. “He’s won the Ballon d’Or seven times.
“Of course, there’s a big debate about this but for me, he is on the same level as [Diego] Maradona.
“For sure, all the players want to win the World Cup, it’s the dream when you are a child. He has the same idea in his mind, and I hope it happens because he has given so much to football.
“Now there is a possibility for football to reward Messi.”