Defoe fires off memo to Sven
Spectacular goal says 'I can play more than 45 minutes' and brings a smile to Eriksson's face at end of a fraught week
Sunday 21 August 2005
As the Swede who is trying to steer England to the 2006 World Cup finals watched the strike set Tottenham on their way to a 2-0 home win over Middlesbrough, he will have smiled but also noted that it came three minutes into the second half after Defoe had played a barren first 45 minutes. For England in Copenhagen, Defoe was replaced after a goalless first half.
With Michael Owen suspended, Defoe is set to start in the qualifying match against Wales on 3 September, and the game in Copenhagen was a chance for him to learn to play with Wayne Rooney. But Eriksson gave them only one half together. "Maybe," said Defoe's club manager, Martin Jol, "it was not bad for us that he played only 45 minutes for England."
Renewed speculation about Eriksson's relations with Faria Alam, the former FA secretary who will learn in two weeks' time the result of her claim for £30,000 compensation after resigning, served to deepen the gloom at the end of a difficult week, but the FA's chief executive, Brian Barwick, said that his meeting with Eriksson after the Denmark game was a routine established when he took office in January, not, as has been suggested, a demand for "showdown talks". Barwick said: "I expect him to be with us until the European Championship of 2008. He enjoys the job and we enjoy having him. He's a very successful manager whose competitive record compares favourably alongside any other previous England manager. There is a bigger picture, we're not naïve, but we're dealing with having Sven on board for some time."
If England are not the best team in Europe, some at least claim that the Premier League is the continent's best. The champions, Chelsea, and Arsenal can make a case for that view today when last season's runners-up visit Stamford Bridge, especially after Ruud van Nistelrooy showed his intention to spearhead a strong title challenge by Manchester United. He scored his second goal in two League games as United beat Aston Villa 1-0.
There was a sign of dissent in the Chelsea ranks when Ricardo Carvalho moaned in public about being left out of the defence for the opening match at Wigan, where Chelsea were run unexpectedly close by the promoted side. Manager Jose Mourinho fined his fellow Portuguese and John Terry played the captain's role by stressing that everyone in Chelsea's competitive squad understands the nature of life at the top. "If you play one bad game, you're not going to be dropped, but obviously if you have two or three bad ones, you'll be out of the side," Terry said. "Once you get the shirt it's down to you to play well and keep it." Eriksson's critics think that competitive spirit does not apply to the England squad.
Latest in Sport
Arsenal transfer news: Atletico Madrid closing in on Santi Cazorla - reports
Arturo Vidal: Manchester United bid £39m for Juventus midfielder
Arsenal transfer news: Arsene Wenger set to cancel moves for Sami Khedira and Morgan Schneiderlin in favour of Jack Wilshere - reports
Chelsea transfer news: Jose Mourinho wants both Thibaut Courtois and Petr Cech to stay at Stamford Bridge
Sami Khedira, Angel di Maria and Isco among Real Madrid players up for grabs this summer
- 1 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 2 50 books for students to read this summer: From Ernest Hemingway to Gillian Flynn
- 3 McDonald’s removes chicken nuggets from the menu in Hong Kong amid major food scare
- 4 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
- 5 Joey Barton and Yossi Benayoun become involved in Twitter row over Israel-Gaza conflict
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia