World Cup 2014: Sven Goran Eriksson praises Roy Hodgson for appointing Liverpool psychiatrist Dr Steve Peters to work with England players

The former Three Lions manager does not expect England to win the tournament in Brazil, but believes Wayne Rooney could play a major role

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The Independent Football

Sven Goran Eriksson has said that his biggest mistake as England manager was in not bringing a psychiatrist to work on his players’ state of mind – as Roy Hodgson has elected to do with Dr Steve Peters.

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The Swede, who led England to the 2002 and 2006 World Cup finals, where they reached the quarter-finals on both occasions, said that he had been struck by Hodgson’s decision to include Peters, who has previously worked for British Cycling, Ronnie O’Sullivan and Liverpool under Brendan Rodgers.

The psychiatrist is now a fully integrated member of the England staff and attends all training sessions and meetings. Asked by the Swedish newspaper Expressen whether he felt that Peters was an asset he would have liked, Eriksson said he would have done so given the chance. “I would also have done that,” he said. “That was my biggest mistake in my time as coach. I did not take a psychologist for the World Cup 2006. It is sensible to put importance on the mental side of things."


Now manager of Guangzhou in China, Eriksson is undergoing something of a renaissance having struggled in recent years professionally and from a series of catastrophes among his personal finances. Nevertheless, he does not rate England’s chances of going better than the quarter-finals this summer in Brazil.

He said: “I do not think England will win the World Cup , absolutely not. If they get beyond the quarter-finals that is a bit of success. There are many teams who are better."

Sven Goran Eriksson during his time as England manager


Eriksson’s last words as England manager was a plea to the media not to “kill” Rooney, after England’s exit in 2010. Now with the debate over whether the player should start for England, the Swede says that the Manchester United man is still worth a place in the side.

“Rooney should start for England, there is no doubt about that. He is England's most important player even though Daniel Sturridge is the best striker right now. He is a superstar who bloomed out this season. He can score a lot of goals in the World Cup.

Wayne Rooney made his England debut over 11 years ago and is used to being the side’s focal point (Reuters)


He continued: “He is fantastic. Sturridge is a great player. I do not think is about the manager showing courage, when it comes to him. It's just right. There is nothing risked by Roy, giving young players a chance. It's the right time to build for the future and for a generational change."