Taylor prepares England youth revolution

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The Independent Football

England's caretaker manager, Peter Taylor, said yesterday that he would use his one game in charge of the national side, a friendly against Italy in Turin on 15 November, to give international experience to young players such as West Ham's teenage prodigy, Joe Cole.

England's caretaker manager, Peter Taylor, said yesterday that he would use his one game in charge of the national side, a friendly against Italy in Turin on 15 November, to give international experience to young players such as West Ham's teenage prodigy, Joe Cole.

"The nice thing about stepping in for one match is that I will be able to experiment," said Taylor, speaking at the training ground of his club, Leicester City. "I intend to involve youngsters. It's a one-off game, so this approach can only benefit whoever takes over permanently. I'm looking to involve one or two players who have not been in the senior squad before."

Taylor knows many of the country's most promising youngsters from his three years in charge of the England Under-21s and will meet his temporary assistant, Steve McClaren, later this week to compare lists of possible squads for the Italy match.

Although he would not yesterday name specific players he intends to call up, Taylor picked out several youngsters, including Cole and Aston Villa's Gareth Barry, for special praise.

"I honestly believe we have an outstanding crop of youngsters, so maybe those kind of players should be given a chance at full international level," he said.

Taylor reiterated that he is honoured to be taking charge of England for one match but he is not interested, yet, in succeeding Kevin Keegan on a permanent basis.

"My mind is here at Leicester, so it will not be difficult to come back afterwards," he said. "I am determined to enjoy my three days with the England squad as much as possible. It was agreed with my club chairman, John Elsom, that I would only be in charge for one game, and I feel exactly the same.

"I know that Adam Crozier [the chief executive of the FA] is aware of where I stand. He has told me about his plans for Team England in the long term, and I am pleased to be a part of them. It's an honour for me that I may be thought of as the England manager in four or five years' time."

Expanding on why it is now too early for him to consider the England job on a permanent basis, Taylor added: "There is always going to be a time when you get bad press and a little bit of stick and that's why whoever takes the England job has got to be ready for that.

"I think for a one-off game the Press will be kind, but wewill have to see how they are after I've named the squad. I haven't got a clue who will be the next England manager, but working with him for three or four days before internationals will obviously benefit me as a coach."

Crozier has said that Taylor and McClaren are intended to be part of the England coaching set-up for years to come, working, for the foreseeable future, as part of a team of coaches under the direction of whoever replaces Keegan.

Taylor said yesterday that he still thought that England should be managed by an Englishman. Given the three candidates that are said to be on the FA's shortlist, it must be presumed then, that he would rather work under Roy Hodgson (currently at FC Copenhagen) than under Arsenal's Arsÿne Wenger or Lazio's Sven Goran Eriksson.

He might yet see such asituation materialise, with Wenger considered the most unlikely of the three, at themoment, to leave his current post and Hodgson the most likely. The latter has already said he would be willing to take the job.

Eriksson, meanwhile, is being head-hunted by the Greek side, Olympiakos, who are willing to pay him around £2.5m a year to join them when his contract with Lazio expires next summer. The Swede knows that the FA is interested in him, but friends confirm he would rather stay in club football than join a national side. Above all, he is hoping that he might yet succeed Alex Ferguson at Manchester United when the Scot retires in the summer of 2002.

Crozier has said he remains confident that the right man will be "signed up" before Christmas, even if he will not be free from contractual obligations elsewhere to take over by then.

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