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Mart Poom not currently interested in national side manager role

Mart Poom.
Mart Poom. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Former Estonian national team goalkeeper Mart Poom has said that he currently has no interest in the manager's job, though says he would like to coach the team again in the future.

The vacancy has arisen after Martin Reim resigned as manager, together with several coaches including Poom himself, following the team's 8-0 loss against Germany in Frankfurt last week.

"First of all, I don't have a license – that's the first criterion," said Poom Tuesday when questioned about his interest in the head coach role, ERR's online sports portal reports.

"Of course, this is a prestigious role, but at the moment I have no ambitions along those lines. I feel I would have a lot more to give as goalkeeping coach. I have the greatest passion for this profession. If necessary, I will always agree to help the youth team. At this stage of my life and career, I'm saying no, butnever say never in the ´future," he continued.

Poom, 47, played for the national side in the 1990s and 2000s. He is one of the highest-profile Estonian footballers, certainly the higest-profile goalkeeper, of all time, having played in the English Premier League for Sunderland, Derby County, Arsenal and Watford.

He did not rule out working in a new coaching lineup for the national team in the future, however.

"The most important thing is that when a new boss comes, he has the freedom to set up his own team," said Poom.

"The key thing for candidates is that they can be free in their choices. It is vital that the manager trusts his assistants, and has good internal chemistry and similar principles," he went on.

"If the new head coach sees me in my coaching lineup, then it is up to me to represent the Estonian team. But nothing happens when he chooses someone else. Do I have the ambition and goal to be on the coaching team again? Of course. This is the highest position," he added.

Of other candidates, Andres Oper, an assistant coach who also recently resigned, said he would take up a new role if offered.

"Naturally, I also have the ambition to coach and in the Estonian team, but it's up to the new head coach to decide who he wants his team," Oper said.

Poom also admitted that inter-generational exchange is a painful period, but young people must be bold, and be able to take responsibility and desire to be resilient, at the same time naming names in those who seek to do the team down.

"Young people should not pay any attention to bitter, self-centered journalists, such as Priit Pullerits, perhaps whose greatest achievement is that he has been to the Tartu Marathon, but was always knocking [former national side defender Raio] Piiroja" Poom said.

"He (Pullerits) says that Estonian football has no hope, but the hope is always there," he added.

One of Mart Poom's most iconic moments came during his time at Sunderland, when he scored a goal against Derby County, his former team. Poom had rushed out of his area when Sunderland were awarded a corner, scoring a header at the far post before having then to rush back to his own area before play recommenced.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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