Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Ruthless Eriksson

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Ruthless Eriksson

Article excerpt

Byline: By Mark Bradley

Sven-Goran Eriksson insisted he had never avoided big decisions as a manager as he prepared to show his ruthless streak by leaving Rio Ferdinand out of England's World Cup qualifier against Austria.

Eriksson has not been exactly renowned for his decisiveness as England coach, appearing to rule by democracy rather than dictatorship, and often being criticised for his lack of strong leadership.

Indeed, some sceptics have questioned David Beckham's role in decision-making, while the England coach refused to drop Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard last month despite their loss of form and fitness.

However, Ferdinand seems set to pay the price for his lapses in concentration so far this season as Sol Campbell is poised to complete a resurgent return from injury to partner John Terry.

Eriksson would not confirm his starting line-up, although it is understood Ferdinand's intended exclusion will result in the first England side without any Manchester United players for almost six years.

The England coach ( who is without Wayne Rooney due to suspension, while Gary Neville is out injured ( has previously axed David James from the side after his mistakes in Austria last September.

He revealed: "If you're not prepared to take difficult decisions, then you shouldn't be in the job. Especially you have to take difficult decisions when the team aren't performing ( and we haven't performed well in the past three games.

"I put Roberto Baggio on the bench sometimes, which wasn't very popular among the fans at Fiorentina, and I also put Clarence Seedorf on the bench at Sampdoria as we didn't have the same opinion how we should play football.

"Many times as a manager you have to take difficult decisions and this is one of them.

"Whoever is left out will be surprised as they all think they should be on the pitch maybe not together, they understand that ( but no-one thinks he should sit on the bench.

"I understand that as you are maybe talking about the best three central defenders in the world."

Eriksson spoke to Terry, Campbell and Ferdinand after training on Wednesday, but had already made his decision before the squad joined up ( and did not alter it as the week progressed. …

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