Eriksson issues denial

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The England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson yesterday strenuously denied fresh reports that he will take over as the manager of Chelsea in the summer.

Eriksson is reported to have told the Czech Republic and Juventus star Pavel Nedved to join him at Stamford Bridge after the European Championship finals in Portugal in June.

However, Eriksson, who is under contract with the Football Association until 2006, said: "This is simply not true."

Eriksson, who coached Nedved when both men were at Lazio, was first linked with Chelsea when he was photographed going to billionaire owner Roman Abramovich's London residence last year.

Nedved's agent was reported as saying that Eriksson had called the player and asked if he was interested in signing for him.

Claudio Ranieri, the Chelsea manager, has had to face almost daily questioning of his long-term future at Stamford Bridge, despite being in a strong position in the Champions' League and having moved up to the second place in the Premiership title race ahead of Manchester United.