Brooking Is Poised to Take over for Crucial World Cup Games; FA Look to a Future without Eriksson

The Mail on Sunday (London, England), August 1, 2004 | Go to article overview

Brooking Is Poised to Take over for Crucial World Cup Games; FA Look to a Future without Eriksson


Byline: PETER FITTON

SIR TREVOR BROOKING will prove himself to be the football man for all occasions if Sven Goran Eriksson is sacked as England coach on Thursday.

Brooking, the Football Association's director of football development, has been lined up by the FA to be given temporary command of the international squad for the friendly against Ukraine at Newcastle's St James' Park on August 18.

For Brooking's employers at Soho Square, that move would buy valuable time to identify Eriksson's long-term replacement - with Middlesbrough manager Steve McClaren already established in the favourite's position - before David Beckham and team knuckle down to World Cup qualification with two tough away ties inside five days next month.

The urbane but strong-minded Brooking, who demonstrated his managerial assets when briefly in control at West Ham as his old club fought - bravely but unsuccessfully - to avoid being relegated from the Premiership two seasons ago, is a respected figure among England's senior players.

Despite his cool image, he is not shy in offering an objective and precise opinion on strategy and tactics and was clearly bewildered by Eriksson's overcautious methods, which contributed to England's failure at Euro 2004 in Portugal this summer.

If the FA board reject the notion of continuing with Eriksson's employment, Sir Trevor - a happy caretaker but reluctant to be the boss on a permanent basis - would be in the right place at the right time.

Standing in the shadows to support him would be Sammy Lee, now in fulltime FA employment after leaving Liverpool's backroom following Gerard Houllier's departure as Anfield boss. As a coach in the Eriksson regime, the jovial and streetwise Lee is close to the players and would provide the support Brooking would need in the short term.

The FA's international committee would have little time to spare if Eriksson is sacrificed over the Faria Alam affair, which also threatens the job security of chief executive Mark Palios. They would have to act fast and decisively, as the World Cup qualifiers in Austria and Poland loom early on football's crowded calendar in the first eight days of September.

McClaren, who has twice moved in as Eriksson's lieutenant with England, is surely the most likely candidate as longterm successor, an appointment that would also satisfy demands for an English manager of the England team. …

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