Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

I Did Not Set out to Have a Go at Sven

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

I Did Not Set out to Have a Go at Sven

Article excerpt


INTERVIEWS with the media are part and parcel of a professional footballer's life these days. Some enjoy it, some don't but I've always tried to cooperate as much as I can.

Imagine my disappointment then, when I read some of the headlines following an interview I gave last week, as part of the build-up to the match against Liechtenstein.

Most of the articles I read as a result of the interview were absolutely fine - first class even - but a few put a slant on things which was hard to fathom. It's difficult to understand how the same interview can be interpreted so differently.

There was nothing in the interview that I hadn't said before, mostly in this column. I don't want to make too much of it and perhaps it was partly my own fault. Perhaps in future I will have to be more guarded when I talk to some people.

The main thrust of what I was trying to say was that we have so many young players in the squad because the experienced alternatives are thin on the ground and the reason for that is the number of foreign imports in the Premiership. I stand by that and the rest of what I said and, mostly, what was reported.

It certainly wasn't a criticism of Mr Eriksson and I wouldn't expect him to take it that way.

I don't intend to speak to him about what I said and I don't expect him to take the matter up with me. There was certainly no criticism of him from me.

I treasure my involvement with the national squad and it still means a great deal to me. I hope and trust this will not jeopardise my international future.

There has been more criticism coming our way following the match in Liechtenstein and it's something I have seen before when we come up against teams from the smaller nations.

I had the feeling all week that, unless we put at least five goals past Liechtenstein, we would come in for criticism. …

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