Barwick to head World Cup inquest - without Sven

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The Independent Football

The Football Association's chief executive Brian Barwick is to head a full debriefing into England's disappointing World Cup campaign within the next fortnight, but the departed head coach Sven Goran Eriksson will not be involved.

Although Eriksson is still being handsomely paid almost two months after leaving his post, FA sources say it was never the intention that he should submit a report on the tournament. His senior coach and successor Steve McClaren will contribute from the football side, along with Sir Trevor Brooking.

McClaren has been keen since taking over the job to keep his thoughts to himself about the World Cup performances and why England failed at the quarter-final stage for a third successive tournament. Given his recent selection of players like Jermain Defoe, Darren Bent and Andy Johnson ahead of Theo Walcott, it is reasonable to assume that he might not have agreed with the choice of squad for Germany.

Indeed, Eriksson admitted that when he announced his intention of taking the untried Walcott in a telephone conference call with the coaches, "It was silence at the other end. Sammy Lee and Steve, they couldn't say anything, because they never saw him play."

One aspect in which all the coaches were known to be in agreement was the importance of having a four-week period between the end of the domestic season and the start of the tournament, something that McClaren is expected to press for ahead of Euro 2008. Medical staff and physiotherapists will also be part of the debriefing and there has already been feedback from the players about their preparation and subjects like the location of hotels and the presence of wives and girlfriends. Much to the disappointment of the world's media, the notorious Wags, who required two full-time FA officials to supervise their expensive sojourn in Baden-Baden, are unlikely to be selected for future tournaments.

European coaches have called on Fifa to scrap August friendlies to protect players worn out by international commitments. Many clubs have been blaming their players' lack of match fitness on World Cup duties - followed by having to play a friendly international a few weeks later.

At Friday's annual élite coaches forum in Geneva, the clubs proposed Fifa remove the August fixture whenever it follows either the World Cup or European Championships. "It's not an aggressive move against the national teams but it simply isn't helpful to the players," said the Uefa technical director Andy Roxburgh.

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