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Eyal Berkovic lined up for Israel job

    Talks which could result in Eyal Berkovic succeeding Dror Kashtan as Israel’s manager have begun.

    The former Manchester City star recently met Israel FA chairman Avi Luzon and persuaded him that he is capable of leading the national team to the Euro 2012 finals.

    Luzon has repeatedly insisted that Berkovic has no coaching experience so is not suitable. But he has sought to appoint a leading foreign coach after Israel ended their 2010 World Cup qualifying campaign fourth behind Switzerland, Greece and Latvia.

    But with the Israel FA facing a cash crisis due to falling attendances and TV revenue, Luzon has so far not been able to lure a big-name.

    Berkovic, whose UK career also included spells at Southampton, West Ham, Celtic, Blackburn and Portsmouth, now has the backing of the Israel FA and some of the country’s leading players.

    Israel captain and Liverpool midfielder Yossi Benayoun said: “Eyal Berkovic is a suitable candidate. If he is appointed we will all be behind him and we will do everything to help him succeed.”

    Portsmouth defender Tal Ben Haim said: “Berkovic is a winner who knows exactly how players feel and what they need. He has played at the highest levels and seen the latest training techniques.”

    The Israel FA wants to make an appointment ahead of February’s draw for the Euro 2012 qualifiers. Berkovic appears likely to be named national team manager along with an experienced assistant coach with Israel Under 21 manager Motti Iwanir in the frame.

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