Celtic boss Lennon leaves door open for Everton move

Laudrup dismisses speculation and insists he intends remaining at Swansea next season

Fri, May 10, 2013, 16:00

Neil Lennon and Michael Laudrup have distanced themselves from speculation linking them to the imminent vacancy at Everton ahead of David Moyes’s departure for Old Trafford.

The Celtic boss, however, was not as adamant as his Swansea counterpart after being installed as favourite with several bookmakers to take over from Moyes. The latter will become the new manager at Manchester United on July 1st following the announcement that Alex Ferguson is to retire at the end of the season.

Wigan manager Roberto Martinez and current Everton captain Phil Neville are also reportedly in the frame to take over at Goodison.

Asked today if he was flattered by his name being linked with the Merseyside club, Lennon said: “Of course, it is nice recognition. Roberto Martinez was favourite yesterday and I’m favourite today, it could be someone else tomorrow. But all of it is speculation. I have a job here, I have a great job, a great set of players, a great support, so I am pretty happy here.”

Lennon, who revealed skipper Scott Brown will make a surprise return to the squad tomorrow after recovering from surgery to cure an abductor problem, was then asked if Everton was a big enough job to tempt him to leave Celtic.

He said: “It is a bit of a hypothetical question. There has been no approach or talk about it. I can’t comment on it or dwell on it because nothing is happening, and all it is is speculation. You are all talking about me leaving here and I never said I was leaving.

“Everton are a huge club, a great club with great history, and they just lost probably one of the greatest managers in their history. It is flattering as I said to be linked with them but that’s all it is, just a link.”

Lennon says he can improve on what has been a successful season at the Parkhead club but admits timing in football is everything. “If I am here next season, that’s what you look to do, improve every season and I think we have done,” he said. “I think we have progressed this season on and off the field.

“We had the Champions League (last-16), we won the SPL, we are in the Scottish Cup final, the only setback we had was the League Cup semi-final against St Mirren where if we had gone through we would have been challenging for all the domestic trophies which would have been a fabulous season.

“Can you improve on that? Yes, you are always looking to improve and better yourself every year. I think all decisions come down to timing. When I got the job here no one gave me a prayer — rookie manager, he has got no chance. But opportunities like this come along once in a lifetime and you have to take it. So you just never know what’s round the corner in football but at the minute I am in a really stable job here with good backing from the board and a good young crop of players.”

Laudrup has been a little more forthright in his dismissal of the speculation. His agent Bayram Tutumlu had already insisted his client will not be on the move and the man himself has reiterated his desire to stay put.

“I’ve said many times that my intention is to be here next season,” said Laudrup. “It is pure speculation once more. I don’t have dreams; I like to live in the present.”