On Wednesday, Coleman was confirmed as the Welsh Football Association's choice to follow Speed, who shocked the football world by taking his own life in November, aged 42.

Speed had overseen a considerable upturn in Wales' fortunes since taking charge in December 2010, and former Fulham boss Coleman, 41, is now charged with continuing his predecessor's good work.

"On one hand it's the proudest moment of my career, to be given the opportunity to lead my country," Coleman said at his unveiling.

"But I've been given that opportunity because of circumstances that nobody could foresee.

"It's bittersweet for me, of course it is. I was very close friends with Gary for 30 years, so it's a difficult experience for me.

"It is probably the most difficult press conference I've ever done and I'm ever going to do I'd imagine.

"But I'm very proud to be given the opportunity and I'm also very sad because of the situation that we find ourselves in."

Wales recorded a 4-1 friendly victory over Norway during Speed's last match in charge, and had previously beaten Switzerland and Bulgaria to end their unsuccessful Euro 2012 qualifying campaign on a high.

Coleman's challenge is not only to keep recording positive results, but also to maintain the impressive brand of passing football Wales displayed in the second half of 2011.

"I think they (Wales) have won four out of the last five games and it's not just the wins, it's the philosophy and the style of play which I think has been refreshing and we've enjoyed it," said Coleman, who also has stops at Greek club Larissa and Spanish outfit Real Sociedad on his managerial resume.

"Gary took over from John (Toshack) and a lot of the players that John had who had caps were at an early age and weren't quite ready," Coleman said.

"But now Wales are reaping the rewards from that, and it's funny how it works."