Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Fast Track to Success; Eriksson's Players in Hands of the Guru

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Fast Track to Success; Eriksson's Players in Hands of the Guru

Article excerpt


SVEN-GORAN ERIKSSON'S new Italian fitness guru believes he can improve the England team's speed by 15 per cent in time for this summer's World Cup.

Eriksson has raided former club Lazio to bring Ivan Carminati into the England set up as the countdown to the finals in South Korea and Japan gathers pace.

With the tournament expected to be one of the most physically draining for European teams, Carminati has been brought in to get Eriksson's players in top shape.

The 47-year-old, who worked with Eriksson in Rome and alongside Dino Zoff during Italy's Euro 200 campaign, put England's players through their paces yesterday before they flew to Amsterdam for tonight's friendly international against Holland.

He was also involved in the buildup to the 1-1 draw against Sweden at Old Trafford in November.

He is contracted to Lazio until the end of this season but the Rome club has effectively dispensed with his services because their new coach Alberto Zaccheroni brought in his new backup team when he arrived last autumn.

That means he will be free to work with England during their next two friendlies against his native Italy in March and against Paraguay in April.

The Football Association confirmed today that Carminati is expected to be fully signed up by the time England leave for a week of acclimatisation in Dubai in mid-May before heading to the Far East where England will play two more warm-ups against co-hosts South Korea and Cameroon.

His appointment confirms the cosmopolitan nature of Eriksson's coaching set-up. Although the longtermaim is to find a home-grown successor to the Swede, the FA has made it clear that in the short term it is prepared to bring in the best regardless of where they come from.

Eriksson and right-hand man Tord Grip have been after Carminati since coming to England at the start of last year. They trust his unique approach to improving players' fitness - which includes making them focus on specific colours.

"Ivan is very good at what he does," Eriksson has said. "He is simply one of the best there is."

With humidity and heat expected to be a major problem in Japan in June, the England squad will need to be fitter than ever before if they are to stand a chance of making progress. …

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