Patrick Vieira has told RMC that he is “really ready” to take up the challenge of a coaching job in Europe, but insisted he has no reason to leave New York City FC just yet.
After taking his first steps as a coach with Manchester City’s Elite Development squad, Vieira took his maiden senior position with NYCFC in January 2016, where he won plaudits for guiding the club to the Major League Soccer playoffs for the first time ever, eventually reaching the conference semifinals.
Previously linked to the vacant position at Newcastle before Rafa Benitez was appointed, Vieira has been consistently put forward as a potential appointment at a number of European clubs, including his former side Arsenal.
The ex-France midfielder denied any contact with Arsenal, but revealed he had held talks with Ligue 1 club St Etienne in the summer.
“The timing wasn’t good. I didn’t ask to leave New York City, because I’m very happy where I am,” he added.
However, Vieira did say he is now well prepared to take a job with a European club.
“I have acquired a lot of experience during my two seasons in New York,” said Vieira, who will have a year left on his contract when the current MLS season ends in December. “I feel ready to take up challenges. But today, I’m lucky to have a squad that enables me to flourish. I don’t have a reason to go looking for something else.”
Vieira, like his former international teammate and Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane, has been put forward as a potential France coach once Didier Deschamps’ stint comes to and end.
Deschamps, who played alongside Vieira in France’s 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000-winning squads, has taken Les Bleus to the brink of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup.
A surprise defeat to Sweden has left them just a point behind Deschamps’ men, with France facing a tricky trip to Bulgaria on Saturday ahead of next week’s final Group A encounter with Belarus.
Vieira, though, is confident his nation will pull through.
“Sincerely, I don’t see France not qualifying for the World Cup. Even if they have two difficult matches, I don’t see them slipping up,” Vieira said.
Vieira believes Blaise Matuidi and Adrien Rabiot should feature in a three-man midfield alongside N’Golo Kante in the absence of the injured Paul Pogba.
“Matuidi has already shown he can play at that level,” he said. “He’s establishing himself at Juventus. Rabiot is becoming one of the best in the world in that position. Didier will have options.
“Perhaps those three can play together. I love the Rabiot I see at PSG. He can play football, go forward. That helps the strikers get good passes.”
Ian is ESPN’s French football correspondent. Twitter: @ian_holyman