Bilic plays down Hammers link

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Slaven Bilic appears to have ruled himself out of the running for the West Ham vacancy after committing his future to Croatia until 2010 at least.

Former Hammers defender Bilic has had great success as coach of his national team and is understood to be on a list of candidates to succeed Alan Curbishley who resigned on Wednesday.

But he told Croatian sports daily Sportske Novosti: "I always said West Ham will be my choice when I return to England, however, my contract with the Croatian FA expires in 2010 and I am intending to lead Croatia in this period."

Several names have been linked with the Upton Park post including Bilic, Gerard Houllier, Gianfranco Zola, Roberto Donadoni and Roberto Mancini.

"I have asked for a comprehensive list, in terms of nationality, experience and qualifications," West Ham vice-chairman Asgeir Fridgeirsson told BBC Sport.

"The parameters go along with what we are trying to achieve at the club. The key element is that we want this to be a sustainable club.

"It is totally inaccurate to say we have anyone lined up for the job already - we want a strong English club with English players, with its roots in the academy."

One former West Ham player who has thrown his hat into the ring is controversial Italian striker Paolo di Canio, according to his agent Phil Spencer.

Spencer said: "We have made moves to talk to West Ham and advised them that he [Di Canio] wants to be considered. He wouldn't be putting himself up for the job if he didn't think he was capable of doing it.

"He just wants the opportunity to sit in front of the decision-makers at West Ham to tell them what he would do and how he would take them forward."

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2008, All Rights Reserved.

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Gianfranco Zola
West Ham United

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