Former-Chelsea assistant plays down links with Stamford Bridge job

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West Bromwich Albion boss Steve Clarke has distanced himself from rumours linking him with the Chelsea job, but admitted he'd love to manage a top four club in the future.

Clarke spent 11 years at Stamford Bridge as a player before taking on a youth coaching role. In 2004 he was promoted to assistant manager under Jose Mourinho, and he helped the 'Special One' guide the club to two Premier League titles, an FA Cup and two League Cups over three seasons.

Clarke went on to be assistant under Kenny Dalglish at Liverpool, before he was handed the opportunity to step into a number one role at the Hawthorns. He's impressed in the west Midlands, with West Brom currently well placed in the top half of the Premier League table.

He's been linked with a return to Stamford Bridge, and despite Rafa Benitez's uncomfortable stint as interim Chelsea boss, Clarke insists he's not been put off managing at the highest level.

"Has he had a fair crack of it? If you are manager of a club like Chelsea you know what comes with the territory," Clarke said in the Daily Mirror.

"Has it [his treatment] been unfair? It's not for me to judge. I work for West Bromwich Albion. It's a Chelsea matter."

And Clarke refused to be drawn into speculation linking him with the Chelsea post this summer, but left the door open to a potential return to his former club down the line.

"I think it's too early to start connecting me with Chelsea," Clarke continued. "There's a lot of managers that have probably got a better case than me.

"But if you're asking if I want to be manager of a top team in the future, of course.

"If you don't have that ambition to better yourself you shouldn't be in the game. But it's not for now.

"The connections are inevitable. I can't do anything about that. Chelsea has been a big part of my life, I've spent more than 40 per cent of it connected with them."

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