Thailand are close to agreeing a contract with former England player Peter Reid to take over as national team coach and guide them to the 2014 World Cup.

Thai soccer president Worawi Makudi said the former Manchester City, Sunderland and Leeds United manager was now the sole candidate and was being offered a long-term contract to revamp the sport across soccer-mad Thailand.

"I'm now focused only on Peter Reid, he wants to work for us and we want him here," Worawi told Reuters.

"He was an excellent player and a highly-qualified coach. He's dedicated and he loves our country. He's the right man."

Coach Charnwit Polcheewin resigned after Thailand were dumped out of the 2010 World Cup qualifiers last month after an abysmal campaign, where they finished bottom of their group, losing all but one of their six matches.

Worawi, a FIFA executive committee member, said their plans for the 2014 finals began immediately after they were eliminated.

"It's our long term plan. We need big changes right now and we don't want to make the same mistakes as before," he said.

"We can't afford to waste time. We have the talent and can go far if we are shown the right way, and Peter can do that."

Reid has not managed a team for three years and has been working as a television commentator. His previous jobs have all ended in sackings, which Worawi dismissed as "ups and downs".

Worawi would not reveal how much Reid was being offered but he was hopeful Manchester City's billionaire owner Thaksin Shinawatra, the controversial former Thai prime minister, would help foot the bill.

"Thaksin loves football, he loves his country and he has offered to help us, with anything," he said.

Thailand have dominated Southeast Asian soccer but have struggled to make the step-up to world level, which former coaches say is because of the players' size and poor discipline.

Worawi liked Reid's no-nonsense style and said the often sensitive Thai players had to accept it.

"We need a tough coach to give them discipline. They have to be committed and do things his way, or they're out," he said.

"Getting to the World Cup is the wish of the Thai people so we need to make that happen."

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