Eriksson to discuss new deal

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The Independent Football

Sven Goran Eriksson will be offered an extension to his contract, which runs until the World Cup in 2006, if England qualify for Euro 2004.

Officials at the Football Association have "already floated the idea" with the Swede and say he has agreed to talks about his future in October or November. An "understanding" is said to be in place for Eriksson and the FA to meet either after the trip to Turkey on 11 October or the play-offs on 15 and 19 November.

Meanwhile, Eriksson said that his search for England strikers is still open as there is a shortage of proven international-class forwards. Eriksson may have been without Wayne Rooney and Darius Vassell for the midweek friendly against Croatia but he still saw fit to pick only three recognised front men. And in the game midfielder Kieron Dyer was brought on as a deep-lying striker before James Beattie was introduced.

Considering that behind Michael Owen, who has 15 goals for his country since Eriksson took charge, and David Beckham, with 11, the next highest scorers are Robbie Fowler, Emile Heskey and Vassell with four each, that shows the scale of the problem.

Eriksson has therefore challenged the likes of Alan Smith, Jermain Defoe and Matt Jansen to live up to their promise, while also saying that Southampton's Kevin Phillips, is still in his thoughts.

The England coach has not called up Smith since his dismissal against Macedonia last October. "I saw him in the pre-season Dublin tournament and he did okay.

"I know he played very well against Newcastle, so I hope he goes on like that. We need strikers in England," he declared.

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