England may be sitting pretty in their Euro 2004 qualification group but the resumption of the international season heralds yet another term of potential difficulties for England's unflappable Swedish manager Sven Goran Eriksson.
Last season the studious coach shrugged off the departure of FA Chief Executive Adam Crozier - his staunchest supporter - as he did that of his assistant Steve McClaren, whilst constantly denying that he was on the verge of quitting England for Manchester United, Barcelona or Real Madrid.
The media frenzy surrounding his affair with compatriot Ulrika Jonsson, and her now infamous autobiography, coincided with a poor England draw against Macedonia in Euro 2004 qualifying and a series of club v country battles ensued during the remainder of the campaign.
This term threatens to eerily echo its predecessor with 55-year-old Eriksson needing to build relationships with new FA supremo Mark Palios and new assistant Brian Kidd, while still persistently denying rumours of a return to club management - particularly with Chelsea.
Following Roman Abramovich's takeover at Stamford Bridge in July 2003 Eriksson was photographed meeting the Russian billionaire, and Israeli agent Pini Zahavi, in London just days later. Eriksson claimed afterwards that he was not interested in coaching the West London club and current Blues boss Claudio Ranieri said that if indeed that was the case then the Swede's actions were 'naive'.
The England manager issued a public statement confirming that he had met Abramovich but refuted reports that he was interested in joining Chelsea. His denials did nothing to dampen the speculation and when the Blues snapped up England international Wayne Bridge, ousting Eriksson reject Graeme Le Saux, and then the Swede's former Sampdoria and Lazio protégé Juan Sebastian Veron joined from Manchester United it led to further insinuations that the Swede may have been advising Abramovich on potential targets.
It is now a widely held belief that Eriksson will join Chelsea sooner or later and that when exactly that is depends on how England perform during the remainder of their Euro 2004 qualifying.
If England fail to make it to Portugal 2004, then the Swede could be looking for a new employer as soon as October and if Chelsea are still in the Champions League the Swede could quickly resume his quest for his most elusive prize.
If the national team qualify for the European Championships then Eriksson is still expected to return to the club football he has admitted to missing after its completion.
In order to get to Portugal England, who are two points behind Group Seven leaders Turkey with a game in hand, must first overcome Macedonia, Liechtenstein and what is expected to be a particular fiery final match against the Turks.
If results go as expected for the two fierce rivals, England's match in Istanbul will be the decider in a showdown for the group winners' automatic qualification place and the runners-up play-off place.
The huge importance of qualifying for Euro 2004 adds further spice to a clash between two countries who have had an uneasy relationship for many years, particularly at club level, which horrifically culminated with the stabbing to death of two Leeds fans following a UEFA Cup semi-final against Galatasaray in 2000.
It was this history of friction that was used as a distorted excuse in the minds of some England 'fans' for the unacceptable acts of racism and hooliganism that marred the Three Lions' excellent 2-0 victory over Turkey at Sunderland's Stadium of Light in April 2003.
A combination of on-pitch celebrations and unsavoury chanting resulted in a record £70,000 fine for the FA and a stern warning of intolerance from UEFA that effectively put England on trial.
Such is the fear that a repeat performance would get the national team thrown out of the European Championships that the FA have refused their ticket allocation for the October 11th clash in Istanbul and Eriksson has issued repeated warnings to fans.
But it is not just the supporters who are responsible for the strained relationship. There were several mass confrontations on the pitch between opposing players during April's clash and angry scenes followed the final whistle as did reports of a bust up in the players' tunnel.
When Liverpool met Turkish side Galatasaray in a pre-season friendly tournament in Amsterdam tempers also flared, resulting in Reds duo Steven Gerrard and Neil Mellor both being sent off. Gerrard can expect a particularly hot reception when England travel to Fenerbahce's Sukru Saracoglu Stadium but the 23-year-old midfielder vowed not to lose his cool.
Before then however, England must successfully negotiate an away tie with Macedonia, who grabbed a 2-2 away draw at the St Mary's Stadium, in Skopje on September 6. The nervous FA have also refused their ticket allocation for this game so Eriksson's side will be without away support for what could be a tricky tie.
If Macedonia get a result then Turkey would no longer need to win in Istanbul, leaving England unable to pick them off on the counter attack.
En-route to the show-down England also have to beat minnows Liechtenstein at Old Trafford on September 10th, and it would boost morale if they won a little more convincingly than the 2-0 scoreline in Vaduz.
To prepare for the double header England will face Croatia in a friendly at Portman Road on August 20th, which is sure to please those managers who lost on the opening weekend of the Premiership season and need to tinker with their teams - another headache for Sven.
England also have another Friendly scheduled in Portugal, February 18, 2004, and that gives England's crop of young hopefuls and established players five internationals and an entire Premiership season in which to impress the national manager and book their place on the plane to Portugal 2004.
If England qualify Eriksson has a host of talent to whittle down to a squad of just 23, meaning all England hopefuls have an intensely important season to make their bid for the European Championships.
Below, Soccernet takes a look at what problems the new season poses for the likely candidates for Sven's final squad.