Birch is adamant Speed's future lies with Sheffield

Sheffield United chief executive Trevor Birch has revealed that the club have not received any approach from the Football Association of Wales to speak to manager Gary Speed.

Former Wales captain Speed, 41, who won 85 caps for Wales, has emerged as one of the favourites to take the vacant national team job and reports suggested the FAW are keen to interview him.

However, in a statement on the club's official website, Birch said: "The speculation is very unhelpful as Gary has only one thing on his mind at the moment and that is to prepare the team for the derby game against Barnsley at the weekend.

"Although unwelcome, the Welsh FA's interest is quite understandable as he's not only a Welshman but also a manager with a great future ahead of him.

"Gary has not been approached and there are no discussions planned.

"He has already stated that he is happy here and we are more than happy with him.

"This has become an intrusion into his and the club's preparations and we will not be commenting further."

Wales have been looking to make an appointment since John Toshack left in September following a disappointing start to the qualification campaign for Euro 2012.

Under-21s coach Brian Flynn has been in temporary charge since and is also among the contenders to take the job on permanently.

Former Wales manager Mark Hughes, now Fulham's boss, yesterday endorsed Speed's credentials. "It's understandable that Gary is being spoken of for the job," said Hughes. "When I left myself, I recommended that Gary speak to the Football Association of Wales. He felt that at that time it was too soon.

"As a captain he was outstanding and showed leadership qualities as a player.

"It's early in his managerial career but it's a similar situation to how I found myself."