Eriksson quick to reaffirm England loyalty

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Sven Goran Eriksson yesterday underlined his commitment to managing England 31 days before the start of Euro 2004 as he claimed that he was in the best job in football.

Sven Goran Eriksson yesterday underlined his commitment to managing England 31 days before the start of Euro 2004 as he claimed that he was in the best job in football.

The Swede, who was in discussions with Chelsea earlier this season before extending his contract with the national side, did add, however, that there was only one other job that would tempt him to leave this country - and that is Brazil.

Speaking in north London at an initiative to get more coaches qualified and to introduce more children to the game, he said: "I'm staying where I am. I'm very happy where I am. I think I am in the best country to manage because football is good here and important.

"If I had to leave England I would like to manage Brazil but I suppose that will never happen." England start their Euro 2004 campaign on 13 June against France but the fact that they are there at all is down, Eriksson remarked, to his team producing two of their best results under him so far, namely the qualifying games against Turkey, where they won at home and drew away.

He also cited England's 5-1 win against Germany in World Cup qualifying and the 1-0 victory against Argentina in the subsequent tournament as his two best other results. Yet with the European Championship looming ever nearer he struck an optimistic note and added: "I love my job and I've been very proud of it ever since I took it. I hope we can do very well in Portugal - we will see."

Eriksson, who is now under contract until 2008, also had some encouraging words about David James. He said: "David James is my best goalkeeper. He is doing very well for us."

Yet Sir Geoff Hurst, who was also present at the launch, added a note of caution over England's continualreliance on Michael Owen for their goals, while saying that John Terry should replace the suspended Rio Ferdinand in central defence.

"We're a bit light up front," Hurst said. "We rely very heavily on Michael Owen. I expect him to have a good championship but we can't rely on him to score all the goals. You need two or three scorers. In defence Terry is a committed player and won't let England down."

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