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Tuesday, January 17, 2006
Row over Eriksson's England future far from over

Newspaper reports suggest Sven-Goran Eriksson will be urged to confirm whether or not he intends to stand down as England boss after the World Cup, so the Football Association can begin the search for his successor now if necessary.

Eriksson was taped telling an undercover reporter that he was willing to leave his contract two years early after this summer's finals in Germany - for the right price - and was indiscreet about some senior international players.

It has been revealed the FA stepped back from taking Eriksson to task over his remarks because they did not want to disrupt the England team ahead of the World Cup.

However, media speculation is still rife in several newspapers that the FA are resigned to losing the Swede this year and would like to start looking for his replacement.

The Daily Mirror claim a senior FA insider said: 'It's an open secret that Sven is going to go after the World Cup - and now he doesn't have any option.

'We are backing him for Germany because what matters more than anything is giving the team the best possible chance of winning the World Cup.

'But we've got to start the search for a successor as quick as possible and Sven owes it to us to make that easier by confirming he is going.'

The FA have publicly reacted with a strong message of support for the England head coach but the furore has clearly disturbed several leading members of the organisation.

Two senior sources connected to the FA have confirmed that had the revelations come out immediately after the World Cup instead of before it, the FA may have reacted differently.

Instead Eriksson was merely asked to issue a statement and personally telephone the players involved: David Beckham, Michael Owen, Rio Ferdinand, Wayne Rooney and Shaun Wright-Phillips.

One source revealed: 'If you want the fame and fortune that goes with the job you have to accept the responsibility that goes with it. It's not the first time he has embarrassed the FA is it?

'The last thing we want though is for there to be any unease within the England squad ahead of the World Cup and let's hope with the action that has been taken that proves to be the case.'

The other source said: 'It is fair to say that if this had been after the World Cup rather than four months before it, there may have been a rather different reaction.

'We do not want to ruin England's preparations for a tournament we have a good chance of winning.'

There is a feeling though that Eriksson was unfairly tricked into talking about the possibilities of a lucrative future job.

And Eriksson's assistant Tord Grip has admitted his fellow Swede was shocked to have found himself the victim of an elaborate sting operation.

Grip told BBC Sport: 'He has been through a lot of things but this was something very special, because it was a real set-up. It was a shock for him, this one. It's not nice, because then you can't trust anybody and you don't trust what they are writing either.

'You never know if it is true or not. It's strange that they do things like that. They had planned it for several months. He was a little bit shocked when he realised it was a set-up but now it's okay.

'He has spoken to them (the players) and he's rather relaxed about the media. It's no problem at the moment. I know that Sven is okay and he's fully committed to the job.'




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