Envious Hoddle says Eriksson lucky to have FA support

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The Independent Online

Glenn Hoddle believes Sven Goran Eriksson is "luckier" than he was after the England coach received the backing of Football Association officials following newspaper revelations.

Hoddle resigned as England coach in 1999 after comments he reportedly made about disabled people, while Eriksson's position has been questioned after his recent meeting with an undercover reporter posing as a rich Arab.

Eriksson suggested he would resign if England win the World Cup this summer and also made indiscreet comments about his senior players, but the FA then confirmed its support for the 57-year-old Swede.

Terry Venables' departure from his England post in 1996 was also linked to off-pitch reasons, and Hoddle insists Eriksson now has stronger support from the FA. "It's happened to me. They turned me over," said Hoddle, the Wolves manager. "I've been quoted stuff I blatantly didn't say and people weren't strong enough to stick by me, simple as that ­ it was the FA.

"Sven has been luckier, perhaps they have learned from it. Terry Venables was the same. People were not strong enough at the time. If the FA have learned something, they're sticking by their man ­ rightly so under these circumstances because he was totally set up."

Hoddle does not believe exposing Eriksson was in England's best interests, adding: "They should be ashamed of themselves. I don't think the public want to see that five months before a World Cup. They are bringing the game into disrepute and dragging it through the gutter."

The FA could now have trouble attracting managers to the job, according to Hoddle. "They are going to be put off. There are people in the past that wouldn't take it and it's one of the best jobs in the world football-wise. But it's a harder job than the Prime Minister."

The Tottenham captain, Ledley King, said yesterday that he was "shocked" by Eriksson's remarks but the centre-half believes the revelations about Michael Owen, Wayne Rooney and David Beckham will not upset the unity within the England camp.

"I was shocked," said King. "But I don't think morale will suffer. The lads always stick together. I don't think there will be a problem with the manager and, even if there was, the players are striving for the same goal ­ to bring the World Cup home. I don't think it will have a negative effect. It will have a positive one."

It is unlikely King will be playing under Stuart Pearce at international level any time soon as the Manchester City manager yesterday sought to distance himself from the job despite being linked to it by Dave Whelan, the Wigan chairman. "This must be the only industry in the world where you can have a total novice, who has not even been in management for one year, being touted for the top job," he said. "It is pathetic and I find it embarrassing."

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