Kidd wins England coaching chance

Glenn Moore
Thursday 23 January 2003 01:00

The restoration of Brian Kidd's reputation took another step yesterday when the 53-year-old was appointed to the England coaching staff.

Kidd, who will continue to act as first-team coach at Leeds United, will take his first training session on Monday 10 February, prior to the friendly international against Australia at Upton Park two days later. His appointment follows glowing testimonials from several of Sven Goran Eriksson's key players, notably David Beckham, the captain.

Kidd worked with Beckham at youth and senior level during a successful decade at Manchester United. That period was soured, though, when he left to manage Blackburn Rovers. Kidd lasted less than a year, during which time Rovers were relegated and his management capabilities were criticised in Sir Alex Ferguson's autobiography.

Six months after leaving Blackburn he became head of youth development at Leeds, soon stepping up to his present position. When Leeds faltered, supporters, unwilling to forget his Old Trafford links, blamed Kidd. Both David O'Leary, the manager, and Peter Ridsdale, the chairman, stood by him and Kidd survived, as he did when O'Leary was replaced by Terry Venables.

Ridsdale and Venables have given their blessing to Kidd's England involvement, though his predecessor Steve McClaren – ironically the man who replaced Kidd at Manchester United – stepped down because of the strain of combining the post with managing Middlesbrough.

Peter Taylor had previously resigned because he was, at the time, managing Leicester. Similarly Liverpool were reluctant for Sammy Lee, an Anfield coach, to increase his England involvement. Leeds will be compensated which, given their parlous financial position, may be a factor in their acquiescence.

Kidd, who was capped twice during a long playing career, and briefly coached the Under-21 international side under Howard Wilkinson, said: "It has all happened in the last couple of days. As soon as I got the green light from Terry Venables, it went from there.

"Mr Eriksson is without a doubt one of the motivating factors. Working with him, Tord Grip, Sammy Lee, Dave Sexton, Ray Clemence and the rest of the coaching staff will be wonderful experience.

"This is a great opportunity in terms of my personal development," he added. "I am very fortunate and privileged to be offered this chance."

Eriksson himself commented: "Brian is a very good coach who already has international experience. That made him an ideal candidate. He also knows more than half of the players in the squad and is very popular among them. Talking to a lot of people, including some of the players, he became the obvious choice."

Unlike McClaren and David Platt, the Under-21 coach who was also in the frame, Kidd is not seen as a potential successor to Eriksson. He is popular with players and an excellent technical coach but dislikes publicity and, in Ferguson's words, "the constant demand for hard, often unpopular decisions would put an intolerable strain on his temperament." Which means while this is an excellent short-term appointment in the long-haul the dream of grooming Eriksson's successor in situ, once FA policy, remains a distant prospect.

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