Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Sven's Pledge

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Sven's Pledge

Article excerpt

Byline: By Mark Bradley

Sven-Goran Eriksson has assured Claudio Ranieri he has no intention of replacing him at Chelsea, as the Swede restated his determination to stay on as England boss until at least next summer.

However, Eriksson admitted his future could be taken out of his hands if England fail to qualify for the Euro 2004 finals in Portugal.

The England coach was at pains to stress ahead of tonight's friendly against Croatia at Portman Road that his friendship with Chelsea boss Roman Abramovich has no bearing on his future management plans.

Indeed, Eriksson revealed he regularly speaks to leading figures within the game - including Premier League managers - about a whole range of football issues, such as possible transfer targets.

Then again, while accepting his photographed meeting with Abramovich soon after the Russian's takeover was badly timed, Eriksson admits there is little he can do to convince sceptics of his desire to stay with England.

After all, there is a growing view among many observers that Eriksson will only stay on beyond next summer if England do well at the Euro 2004 finals and have a realistic chance of winning the 2006 World Cup.

The Swede admitted: "In life, you never know. I think that England will qualify but, if they don't, then no one will want me any more. That's life.

"People in this country know that better than I do. But please, don't let us talk about what will happen if we don't qualify as that's very negative.

"The only proof I can give is the fact that I'm sitting here. I suppose it will go on like this as there's nothing else I can do about it. Let's just try to beat Croatia, qualify and do a good championships. Then let's see what happens, but I can still see myself being England manager up to the 2006 World Cup."

Eriksson regretted the fact he has been continually linked with various clubs - ranging from Manchester United, Barcelona and Real Madrid to Chelsea - ever since he took up the England post. …

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