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Hiddink as Chelsea coach may be Russia's loss

Goal.com
Feb 13, 2009 at 04:26pm IST

New Delhi: Russian playmaker Andrei Arshavin fears for his country's footballing future now that the Dutch coach has gone part-time.

Arsenal's high-profile transfer window arrival Andrei Arshavin has voiced concerns on Thursday that Russian national coach Guus Hiddink's decision to manage Chelsea until the end of the season will have negative consequences for the Russia side.

It is not necessarily the present arrangement that bothers Arshavin, but the fact that things could change very quickly and easily now that Hiddink is in the Stamford Bridge hot-seat, after being appointed yesterday as Luiz Felipe Scoalri's temporary successor.

NEW MAN: Arsenal's Andrei Arshavin warms up as a substitute before the start of their EPL match against Tottenham Hotspur.

The Russian midfielder fears that Hiddink's role might switch in the summer, and the Russian squad be abandoned in favour of a more permanent and glamorous Premier League role, especially as Chelsea's Russian owner Roman Abramovich is rumoured to be personally close to Hiddink.

"For me, the most important thing is that Hiddink doesn't leave the Russian team," the former Zenit St Petersburg man told Sport Express.

"If Guus was to quit, our side could just simply collapse without him. I don't see any realistic replacement for him. However, if he feels he has the strength to help Chelsea, then that's how it should be."

And Arshavin has mixed feelings about wishing his national manager success in London, not only because Chelsea are rivals of his Arsenal side, but also because success would heighten the chances of the Dutchman remaining at Stamford Bridge.

"On one hand, I would like to wish Guus good luck, but on the other hand, Chelsea are now rivals," Arshavin added.

"Also, I am worried that if everything goes well for Guus in London then he will stay with Chelsea for longer."

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