Mourinho reveals 'I am not the man for England'

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The Independent Football

Mourinho, who was speaking at the Portuguese embassy last night, ruled out any possibility of succeeding Sven Goran Eriksson. "I'm not the man for England," said the Chelsea manager. "At 43 years of age it is not for me. I want to spend let's say 12 more years at the top level club football and after that it is time for my country, I think.

"I am the man for Chelsea, to work with English players and to help the England team by working with them at my club."

But Mourinho has declared he will do what he can to help England in the build-up to the World Cup finals in June this summer, saying he will make sure the likes of Frank Lampard, John Terry and Joe Cole are in prime condition going into the tournament. "I want to do the maximum I can to provide players in good condition for the England team, so if in May I can give you Lampard, Terry and others for the World Cup, I will be doing a good job for you. I owe this to England because I work in this country."

Guus Hiddink, the leading foreign contender to succeed Eriksson, has received a ringing endorsement from a member of the South Korea side he led to within reach of the 2002 World Cup final - despite teaching the player a harsh lesson.

Seol Ki-Hyeon, now playing up front for Wolverhampton Wanderers, believes that Hiddink's unflappable character, allied to his tactical flexibility, man-management ability and media skills, would make the 59-year-old PSV Eindhoven coach a success if he replaced Eriksson.

Seol admitted, however, he had learnt about Hiddink's mental toughness the hard way. The Koreans played friendlies in Spain and Germany, and the Dutchman told his squad to stay together between the games.

Seol, who was then with was then with Anderlecht, disobeyed by going home to Belgium after one match and was dropped from the starting line-up for the next game in Bochum.

"It was terrible," Seol recalled. "He [Hiddink] let me warm up as a substitute for 90 minutes, but never called me on. He killed me. After that, I always listened to Mr Hiddink and did what he said."

Seol described how Hiddink remained resolute after being vilified for a 5-0 rout by France early in his reign. "We were dreadful. The media were no longer friendly, but he couldn't be shaken.

"A year later we lost only 3-2 to France and could have won. Then we got to the semi-finals and he became a national hero."