Neil Warnock: What I've Learnt This Week

1. England's next manager should be English and experienced enough to handle the media
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The Independent Football

So it's official, Sven Goran Eriksson is on his way after the World Cup and we're all wondering who's next? It's no good saying "let's get the best", as no one knows who that is. You don't until they're in the job. But I think the country needs an Englishman and I think [the Football Association chief executive] Brian Barwick does, too.

All the obvious candidates have been mentioned: Sam Allardyce, Alan Curbishley, Steve McClaren. Each have their strengths and weaknesses but we won't know if they can be successful until they are given a chance. I do think that what the job entails, especially in the media aspects, means it can't be given to an inexperienced manager.

To me the day-to-day running of a club is the most enjoyable part of management. The dressing-room banter gives me a buzz. So it needs to be someone who is prepared to do without that.

2. We've had enough on Sven, thanks

I hope the media now put it to bed about Sven. It's beginning to drive me daft. I read a lot of papers every day - it almost counts as a hobby - but I've been skipping through them while this carry-on has been going on.

I read five tabloids and The Independent, of course, every day. Some managers say they never read the papers; maybe they don't but it's amazing how I can pick up one thing each week from them, and that one thing usually turns out to be hugely important. It may be a rumour about a player I've been thinking about, or a match report about something a team's done. Those little things can help.

3. A Cup exit is not the end of the world

It's an FA Cup weekend and unusually at this stage we're not involved. I'm not worried about that, but I'd like our rivals to stay in. When we had our great Cup runs we always lost at least one player to injury and bookings have increased towards suspension level. Even when you don't play your strongest team you always pick up problems. I noticed Matt Kilgallon, the Leeds defender, was injured against Wigan and could miss a few weeks.

We had some great times in the Cup in recent years and, of course, we nearly reached the final a few years ago, when we lost to Arsenal at Old Trafford. Unfortunately the day was soured for me because we lost to a goal that should never have been given. A couple of fouls on Wayne Allison went unpunished early in the move, then Graham Poll body-checked Michael Tonge, who would have broken it up. I still can't believe how Graham came to be in that position and I can't understand how he was laughing when he came off at half time. That goal cost me, the club, and thousands of people watching on telly great pain. Seeing the referee's expression rubbed salt into the wound. Having said that, he's turned into the best ref in the country, the one you want to be controlling the top games.

4. Wigan deserve to play in Europe

I enjoyed the Carling Cup semi-final second legs this week. When I watched Wigan celebrating after beating Arsenal I felt so proud for them. A few years ago I thought the only way Wigan would play in Europe would be if they played the waiters on holiday. Now they are only a game away.

Watching that gave me the incentive to sign Ade Akinbiyi. I've also taken Bruce Dyer until the end of the season, because with 16 weeks to go I didn't want to mess about, but Jason Roberts has been superb for Wigan and Ade has similar strengths. All players have to learn from adversity and it shows his character that Ade has matured since he was at Leicester. The stick he received then was unwarranted and he has come back from it. A number of his former managers told me what a smashing lad he is, how genuine he is. Some players simply don't settle at some clubs, but players will always perform if they are happy.

5. I have no time to rest

Most teams have gone away this week but I just gave my lot a few days off at home. In the past we've been to Spain or somewhere. This season, though, I didn't want to jeopardise our season by someone making a mistake on a trip to somewhere unfamiliar.

I had a busy week myself. I did Chris Kamara's television show in London on Sunday, then went to Cornwall before taking in Plymouth Argyle's match against Leicester on Tuesday. I did a West Country TV show before driving back to London for a meeting then returning to Sheffield - having just remembered to pay the congestion charge in time - to announce Ade's signing at a press conference.

So if this column isn't as funny as usual it's because I'm almost falling asleep as I'm writing it. I just hope you're not nodding off, too, while you're reading it.

6. My fitness coach is a true gentleman

One person I hope isn't reading this is my fitness coach, Tony Daley. That's because before I watch a match this afternoon I'm taking the kids to see March of the Penguins at the cinema We always get a large bag of Butterkist and Tony would definitely turn his nose up at that.

But he's a good lad, is Tony. When the lads are giving him stick he never, ever gives them the old international's retort: "Put your caps on the table". He won seven.

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