Eriksson stays as FA looks to fill gaps

Steve Tongue
Tuesday 12 November 2002 01:00
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Sven Goran Eriksson yesterday confirmed that he is staying on as England's manager, and continued his long search for a left-sided midfielder by including Middlesbrough's Jonathan Greening in a training squad that has no room for Joe Cole of West Ham United or Leeds United's Lee Bowyer.

Eriksson again expressed regret that Adam Crozier had resigned as chief executive of the Football Association, but was pleased with the news that David Davies, the director of international strategy, and Nic Coward, the company secretary, are to share the job on a temporary basis until a successor is appointed.

That task will be done by a head-hunter reporting to a committee of five: David Dein, Peter Ridsdale, Roger Burden (Gloucestershire FA), Ray Kiddell (Norfolk FA) and the FA chairman Geoff Thompson.

Kiddell has been appointed as one of the two FA's two vice-chairmen (Dein is the other), replacing Frank Pattison, who resigned in sympathy with Crozier over the Premier League's proposals for greater control of the professional game. Those plans will be discussed by the FA board in the next few weeks.

Other vacancies still to be filled are those of technical director, the role which Howard Wilkinson gave up to take over as the manager of Sunderland, and Steve McClaren's position as Eriksson's senior coach.

Davies claimed yesterday that the manager's "public approval rating" of 90 per cent was unprecedented for any walk of life. The Swede duly boosted it further by denying that he had ever seriously considered resigning after barely two years in the job. "I am happy to stay," he said. "I read a lot about my going to Spain, Italy, Portugal. I said nothing because I wanted to know what was happening. It is important to have a boss. Who should I ask when I need anything? Today I got that decision and I am happy with that.

"I regret that Crozier went away. He was a good man who did an excellent job for the FA. I worked very well with him, and he created a good atmosphere at the FA for me personally. He was a good professional. Now we have a new situation, and David Davies is going to be my boss. I wanted to go on as before. I talked to David today; I talked to Premier League chairmen and some club chairmen. They said I had full support for everything I'm doing and that's important."

Having bowed to pressure not to arrange friendly matches in months such as November, he wanted reassurances that those chairmen and their managers supported such ventures as next week's two-day get-together, which will be a laid-back occasion with only one training session. His choice of players – however many of them pull out over the weekend – is nevertheless significant, and therefore as encouraging for Greening as it is dispiriting for Cole and Bowyer.

Everton's Wayne Rooney – "a brilliant talent" according to Eriksson – continues along the fast-track to international football in the under-21 sessions at Burnham Beeches, with other first-timers Darren Ambrose of Ipswich Town and Kevin Nolan of Bolton Wanderers.

ENGLAND SQUAD

For two-day training camp, 18-20 Nov.

Seaman (Arsenal), James (West Ham), Robinson (Leeds), G Neville (Man Utd), Mills (Leeds), Ferdinand (Man Utd), Campbell (Arsenal), Southgate (Middlesbrough), Woodgate (Leeds), Cole (Arsenal), Bridge (Southampton), Beckham (Man Utd), Butt (Man Utd), Gerrard (Liverpool), Scholes (Man Utd), Hargreaves (Bayern Munich), Dyer (Newcastle), Thompson (Blackburn), Murphy (Liverpool), Sinclair (West Ham), Lampard (Chelsea), Greening (Middlesbrough), Heskey (Liverpool), Owen (Liverpool), Smith (Leeds), Vassell (Aston Villa).

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