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Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 March 2006, 17:37 GMT
Robson backs O'Neill for England
Sir Bobby Robson
Robson thinks England have a good chance in Germany
Sir Bobby Robson would like the next England manager to be homegrown - but also backed Martin O'Neill.

The 73-year-old, who took England to within a whisker of the 1990 World Cup final, suggested a foreign coach would not have the same in-built desire.

He told BBC Sport: "I personally would prefer the next man to be English. It gives you the passion for your home nation and you can't buy that.

"But Martin is a good, intelligent man, a good manager and in the equation."

Of the other candidates, Sir Bobby hinted that Manchester City boss Stuart Pearce might not be ready for the job just yet, but Charlton's Alan Curbishley could fit the bill.

He said: "Stuart is gathering experience and might in time be the England manager, but maybe he should be the England manager after the next one. It is a job for an experienced man."

Curbishley has not won a trophy or taken Charlton into Europe during his 15 years in charge at the club, but Robson insisted: "You can't please everybody.

"I was 14 years at Ipswich before I got the England job so Alan Curbishley is in a very similar position to me."

The former Newcastle manager, now a consultant with the Republic of Ireland, is confident England will have a good World Cup under the tutelage of the departing Sven-Goran Eriksson.

Wayne Rooney
Robson believes Rooney is the key

"The team have got a fine chance because they've got some fine players, " he said.

"One man doesn't make a team but one man makes a difference and Wayne Rooney is very, very important to us because we have no-one to replace him. We haven't got another Wayne Rooney.

"He is absolutely crucial at the moment. We saw two years ago, in Euro 2004, when he was injured we weren't the same side.

"So we have to have our fingers crossed that Wayne keeps out of the way of the heavy wagons and stays on course. If he does that and everybody else plays well then we will have a shot.

"My honest opinion would be don't be afraid of anybody, play to your potential and you've got every chance."

Sir Bobby, speaking at The British Sports Book Awards, where his autobiography Farewell But Not Goodbye was runner-up to Frank Bruno's, said: "We shouldn't be afraid of anyone.

"The dangers to England - and you don't have to be Mastermind for this - are Brazil, because they have some outstanding players and great forwards, and Argentina.

"If we can avoid those teams the chances are we will get to the final and play one of them then. So my message is - if we play to our potential we should do all right."

Interview: Sir Bobby Robson


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