Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Eriksson Stalling Talks on His England Future

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Eriksson Stalling Talks on His England Future

Article excerpt

Byline: MICHAEL HART

SVEN-GORAN ERIKSSON is unlikely to bow to FA pressure to bring forward negotiations to secure his long-term future.

The England coach was in the Bernabeu Stadium last night to watch David Beckham and Real Madrid beat Bayern Munich 1-0 to secure a place in the quarterfinals of the Champions League.

The Swede has been the subject of constant speculation linking him to Chelsea but is bemused by the FA's apparent eagerness to rush into talks about his future plans.

Eriksson, under contract to the FA until 2006, was offered a two-year extension in November, a move designed in part at least to flush out his long term intentions.

FA chief executive Mark Palios clearly wants him to lead England into the next World Cup and beyond.

But Palios fears, with some justification, that Chelsea, Real Madrid or another of Europe's big clubs may try to recruit him from Soho Square after this summer's European Championship.

Eriksson, for his part, cites the fact that he's under contract until 2006 and has stated publicly that he will honour this agreement. In such circumstances he feels there is no need to talk further at this stage about a contract extension.

Nonetheless, Palios would like to at least initiate contract discussions with Eriksson before England visit Sweden for a Euro 2004 warm-up match in Gothenburg on 31 March.

What Palios needs to know is whether he should begin searching for a successor. If there's a chance of the national coach abandoning his post, the sooner the FA know the better.

Eriksson, who has turned down lucrative offers to leave Soho Square and return to club football, and the FA have agreed not to discuss the matter publicly until they are in a position to make a firm announcement about his future. I now understand that this may not be until after Euro 2004. …

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