Football: Wellington Phoenix coach Ufuk Talay not interested in revisiting All Whites head coach job

Wellington Phoenix coach Ufuk Talay insists he has no interest in revisiting the All Whites role, after main rival John Herdman's withdrawal from the race.

The Australian was one of several applicants interviewed for the role, but has been informed he missed out.

NZ Football insists it remains in talks with its preferred candidate, despite Canada coach Herdman - identified by Newshub and other media outlets as the leading contender - announcing he has turned down an approach from New Zealand.

"That ship has sailed," Talay said, as the Phoenix departed for Melbourne to face the Victory.

Talay, 46, and Herdman were among a group of five contenders interviewed by NZF to replace Danny Hay, who decided not to pursue another term.

He is philosophical about being overlooked for the role, admitting Herdman was a superior candidate.

"Was I disappointed not to be able to get that role?" he mused. "Yes and no.

"Was there a better candidate than me? Yes, there was.

"I think NZ Football made a decision that was best for them at the time, but that’s got nothing to do with me. I was just one of those candidates and was one that wasn't preferred for the role."

Herdman led Canada to last year's FIFA World Cup in Qatar - their first appearance at the sport's global showpiece in 36 years. They performed admirably in a cut-throat group that included quarter-finalists Belgium, and semi-finalists Croatia and Morocco.

NZ Football was left red-faced by the Englishman's public rejection, after chief executive Andrew Pragnell told Newshub the preferred candidate had agreed terms for the position and was "100 percent" on board, until a personal situation had put the process on hold.

John Herdman has withdrawn from All Whites candidacy.
John Herdman has withdrawn from All Whites candidacy. Photo credit: Getty Images

NZ U20 coach Darren Bazeley was appointed interim head coach for the All Whites' upcoming two-game home series against China next month.

"Obviously, he's been there [the World Cup] and he has more experience than me in that role," Talay added. "He's been to a World Cup with Canada, he's been through a qualification process. 

"Obviously, he's a step ahead in that position than me."

Talay's Phoenix deal expires at the end of the current A-League season and his failure to secure the All Whites job probably puts further doubt on his future in New Zealand.

The national team role may have lured him to extend his deal with the Wellington franchise, which is on track for a third playoff appearance in four years since his arrival.

In the context of their lengthy relocation to Australia during COVID-19, Talay's success with the Phoenix makes him a prime target for other clubs.