Eriksson job talks may be distraction

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The Independent Online

England's head coach, Sven Goran Eriksson, has admitted that he is likely to be involved in negotiations about a new job in the run-up to the World Cup finals, if not during the competition itself. At previous tournaments, he has insisted that players and their agents forget all transfer talk and concentrate on the job in hand. But speaking on Friday, Eriksson said it was impractical to wait until after the finals before discussing offers. "If I want to have another job from August, you can't leave it until the middle of July," he said. "By then all national teams and clubs already have a manager."

By the same token he believes it is impossible for the Football Association to do as candidates like Alan Curbishley have requested and delay any announce-ment until the end of the season. The three-man committee of Brian Barwick, Noel White and Dave Richards will tomorrow present their first thoughts to the 13-strong FA board.

Martin O'Neill remains favourite to succeed Eriksson, though some of the international committee prefer an Englishman to an Ulsterman. There is also concern in some quarters that O'Neill will want to bring in his trusted coaching team of John Robertson, a Scot, and Steve Walford, who worked with him at Leicester and Celtic.

Guus Hiddink is the favoured foreign coach, Sportsweek having revealed last week that he will quit PSV Eindhoven at the end of this season if a controversial court case alleging avoidance of tax goes against him.

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