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Last Updated: Monday, 13 October, 2003, 09:04 GMT 10:04 UK
Eriksson vows to stay

England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson has insisted he will remain in charge for Euro 2004.

Eriksson has been criticised for refusing to end constant speculation linking with a move to Chelsea.

But after guiding England to next summer's showpiece in Portugal after a draw against Turkey, Eriksson finally confirmed he would stay.

Asked directly by reporters whether he would be in charge for Euro 2004, he said: "Yes."

And he was in optimistic mood about England's chances.

He said: "We shouldn't be afraid of any team. I can't say we will win Euro 2004, but we're good enough to win it.

"We're one of the few teams that have that ability. In a real game, it's not easy to beat England any more."

England's senior players urged Eriksson to stay on after the 0-0 draw in Istanbul.

Midfielder Steven Gerrard and goalkeeper David James have voiced their hope that Eriksson will pledge his immediate future to the national side.

The Swede has yet to lose a European Championship or World Cup qualifier since replacing Kevin Keegan more than two-and-a-half years ago.

Going into next summer's finals, it is key that the manager is in charge
England keeper David James

Gerrard said: "The manager has done a great job. His record in important matches is phenomenal. I think the criticism he gets is uncalled for.

"It is very important for him to take us to the tournament next summer. I don't think there is anyone better to do that for England. We really need him to stay.

"Are we good enough to win Euro 2004? I don't see why not. We have proved that we can mix it with the best in the past, people like Germany and Argentina, and we did it on Saturday night.

"Now we want to go on and prove it. The lads showed what they are capable of when they got to the last eight of the World Cup. It was only a couple of mistakes that knocked us out then.

"I am sure we will have learned from that. If we cut out the errors we can go into the tournament with the chance of going a long way."

James agreed with Gerrard, and said: "Going into next summer's finals, it is key that the manager is in charge. He's got us there. He knows what he is doing. The results prove that.

"We've got a chance now to go even further than the 2002 World Cup. I believe the 2004 Euro finals is an ideal situation for us.

"The World Cup last year was a good bonding session for us. One result didn't go right but we have got a fantastic squad assembled here now and I'm the oldest at 33."

England's Sol Campbell
"I think Sven's happy with England"

England captain David Beckham
"We showed great character"

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