IAN RUSH last night admitted he would consider working as a number two to whoever is appointed Wales manager.
The Chester City manager has withdrawn from the race to succeed Mark Hughes and yesterday penned a new three-year contract with the League Two club. But the 43-year-old, who combines his duties at Chester with managing Wales under-17s, pledged to give his full support to the new national team manager.
Rush said: "Wales is a massive job but it would not be right if I took it yet. I don't think I'm ready yet but I'm ready to help the new manager.
"If the new Wales manager, whoever he is, wants a number two, I could possibly consider combining the two positions at Chester and with Wales.
"If they want any help, I'd be willing to do that."
Rush was one of six men the FA of Wales wanted to interview for the Wales post.
He described the chance to lead his country as "the highest possible honour" but spelt out his reasons for deciding to continue his managerial experience at Chester.
"Had I been selected, this was not the right time for me to move into international management," said Rush,, who has lost only two games since taking the reins at Chester in late August.
"I would love the job one day but this opportunity is too soon for me. It's is a personal decision and it was reached after much agonising."
Rush, who scored 28 goals for Wales in a 74-cap career, added: "It's difficult but at the end of the day, I'm still learning my trade. I've been very lucky to have a chairman who lets you get on with it. I was very lucky to be given the chance to come to Chester."
Rush's decision to withdraw from the race to succeed Hughes pleased Chester chairman Stephen Vaughan, who appointed the Welshman despite interviewing a number of more experienced candidates.
Referring to the approach from Wales, Vaughan said: "It's a big post. We weren't going to stand in his way, but he's got a big job here. This club launched his football career and we're going to be party to launching Ian on to the biggest stage at a later date.
"We've given him a break and he's repaid us. We felt he had the credentials to do it. It was a bold decision on our part but it's paid dividends for us.
"The stability is there now." However, Vaughan added: "The honeymoon period is over now and the pressure is going to come on him. We want to be promoted this year.
"We also want a run in the FA Cup and a run in the LDV Vans Trophy. It's over to Ian now to take that forward.
"Chester City Football Club is moving forward. We've got a top manager and a top assistant and we feel that we're ready to push on for promotion this year."
"Anything's achievable but it's not going to be easy," Rush said. "We're in this position because we've got a very good spirit in the squad and every-one's giving 110%. We're playing games where we're expected to win now, so the supporters have got to be patent, get behind the team and I think we can achieve better things."
With Rush now out of the race for the Wales job, another of those on the shortlist, Dick Advocaat, was yesterday officially unveiled as manager of German club Borussia Moenchengladbach, turning the battle to succeed Hughes into a four-horse race between John Toshack, Dean Saunders, Gerard Houllier and Phillippe Troussier.
With Toshack the clear favourite, there have been calls for ex-Wrexham manager Brian Flynn - a surprise omission from the FAW's initial list - to be given an interview.
And it is understood Flynn has not been completely ruled out and that further informal discussions could take place.