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Last Updated: Friday, 7 April 2006, 05:50 GMT 06:50 UK
Sven could do Real job - Gravesen
By John Sinnott

Thomas Gravesen
Midfielder Gravesen signed for Real in January 2005
Real Madrid midfielder Thomas Gravesen believes Sven-Goran Eriksson has the strength of character to coach the club - if he is offered the Bernabeu job.

Eriksson, who wants to resolve his future before the start of the World Cup finals this summer, has been named on a Real shortlist of seven coaches.

Gravesen, 29, told BBC Sport: "I think Eriksson's reputation is strong enough.

"You have proven your worth when you have managed a club like Lazio in Italy and then you become England manager."

Chelsea's Jose Mourinho, Liverpool's Rafael Benitez, Arsene Wenger of Arsenal as well as Italians Carlo Ancelotti of AC Milan, Juventus' Fabio Capello and Italy coach Marcello Lippi complete the Real shortlist.

Gravesen added: "With jobs like Eriksson has had you have shown you have the skills to lead the team.

Unless they tell me otherwise I'll be a Real Madrid player for the next two years
Thomas Gravesen

"But it will be a big test for him in the summer with England - there will be a lot of pressure and there will be a lot of eyes on him and that will give something of a pointer about him."

Gravesen revealed he had been impressed by the way current coach Juan Ramon Lopez Caro had coped with not being included on Real's shortlist.

"Caro is very committed to this job right now," said the Danish international.

"Despite all the speculation about new coaches and new players arriving in the summer, the way we have been training since he arrived has not changed.

"He has not shown any concern about what is going on. He has got a very strong character and he wants to leave a strong imprint on this club before, or if, he goes.

"Every time we prepare for a game he has done it in the same way.

"If he had let his head down he would not be that committed to the cause but his energy levels have not diminished at all - he has been the same guy from day one."

Gravesen, who joined Real from Everton in a 2.5m deal in January 2005, has two years left on his contract and the midfielder re-iterated he is keen to stay with the Madrid club, unless they decide to sell him.

"If Real say they don't need me I will look for another club," said the Dane.

"I'm a footballer and I want to play football. If a club tells me they don't want me I'm not going to hang on clinging with two arms and two legs just because it is Real Madrid - I'm going to look for a new club.

"But unless they tell me otherwise I will be a Real Madrid player for the next two years."

Gravesen insisted the level of media interest around Real, with regard to the identity of the new coach, had not disturbed the players' concentration as they try to close the 11-point gap on leaders Barcelona.

"In a club like this there will always be rumours about players, presidents and coaches," said Gravesen.

"We hear stuff and see stuff everywhere. We see so much stuff every week, every year.

"We know 90% is speculation and only 10% is truth and what the 10% might be is not the players' knowledge. The players are the last ones to know who will the new manager.

"I can only look at it from a distance - it's nothing to do with me - it is part of this club and it is the way things works here and its something you just have to deal with."


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