Owen fears loss of Sven

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The Independent Football

The Liverpool striker Michael Owen fears Sven-Goran Eriksson could walk away from his position as England coach if he continues to be hounded over his private life.

"Sven has my 100 per cent support and my total respect," Owen said. "I feel sorry for him and [am] afraid he might leave the job and walk out on us if they don't stop hammering him.

"It would be desperately disappointing if [he] ever left, let alone for something that's not football related. Losing Sven would be really frustrating, a real blow. I mean, who replaces him? I certainly can't see a better man for the job."

David Elleray, the former referee who is now an FA councillor, said the Eriksson affair was diverting attention from the FA's positive impact on the game.

"There's obviously a concern about the image of the game but that is really down to the conduct of a few individuals," Elleray said. "The real sadness is that this is detracting from a huge amount of excellent work which the FA does. That's the great sadness."

Elleray called upon both the FA and supporters to put the Eriksson saga behind them.

"Sven has only lost two or three competitive games and I'm sure like all managers his fate will be decided by what happens on the field," he added.

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