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Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 February 2006, 07:49 GMT
Eriksson's final countdown
By Andrew McKenzie

England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson
Eriksson's biggest fear is injuries to his key players
England's friendly against Uruguay on Wednesday takes place just 100 days before the 2006 World Cup finals gets under way in Germany.

For Sven-Goran Eriksson it will be his last tournament as England coach.

His brief is to bring the World Cup back to England before stepping down.

With just the match against Uruguay left to assess his options before he names his squad in May, Eriksson addresses some of the key issues facing him.

ERIKSSON'S HOPES

IMPORTANT DATES
1 March: Friendly with Uruguay
13 May: FA Cup final
15 May: Deadline for 23-man World Cup squads
17 May: Champions League final
30 May: Friendly with Hungary
3 June: Friendly with Jamaica
9 June: World Cup finals start
To take part in the World Cup is the biggest stage you can be at.

So I am very much looking forward to it - it might be my last one. I wish it would start tomorrow.

Since I was a boy the dream has always been the World Cup and if you can win one it will mean a lot to me.

ERIKSSON'S FEARS

Every time I see an England player go down injured I am scared.

It's very important we have fit players in May - it's the most important thing.

Injury is the biggest problem we might have as you can't do anything about it.

When you choose your squad of 23 you can't change it, so you can't gamble.

When I pick a player for the squad I must be convinced he has the quality to play in the World Cup, that's the first thing.

You must also be quite sure they are fit or you might end up with a big problem.

If they play one game but then not the next one it's very difficult.

ERIKSSON'S DILEMMAS

BBC SPORT RUNS THE RULE OVER WHO IS GOING TO GERMANY
Probables:
Paul Robinson, David James, Gary Neville, Ashley Cole, Sol Campbell, Rio Ferdinand, John Terry, Jamie Carragher, Ledley King, David Beckham, Michael Carrick, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Joe Cole, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Michael Owen, Wayne Rooney, Peter Crouch
Possibles:
Robert Green, Chris Kirkland, Wayne Bridge, Luke Young, Phil Neville, Owen Hargreaves, Kieran Richardson, Jermaine Jenas, Jermain Defoe, Darren Bent
Outsiders:
Jonathan Woodgate, Wes Brown, Michael Dawson, Matthew Upson, Scott Parker, Kieron Dyer, Aaron Lennon, Stewart Downing, Darius Vassell, Emile Heskey
Sol Campbell's situation:
I talked to Sol, we discussed the World Cup and he wants to be there.

I'm very happy about that because a fit Sol Campbell is always good to have on your side.

He's a rock when physically fit and he'll do everything to be fit as it might be his last World Cup.

The first thing is he must start to play for his club or I can't pick him. That's the same with Jonathan Woodgate and the same with all the players.

Holding midfield role:
In some games maybe we need a sitting midfielder. Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard can do it but they are not playing that role for their clubs.

So Rio Ferdinand could be a choice, Ledley King is another possibility and Michael Carrick is playing well.

But Rio is definitely an option. It depends on how many times he plays that role for Manchester United. I think he has done it two or three times so far.

Strikers:
I hope to have Wayne Rooney and Michael Owen up front - they are the first choice as I see things at the moment.

Peter Crouch will probably be in the squad, he's different and good to have on the pitch or on the bench.

Then it's up to the players to show who is going to be the fourth striker.

ERIKSSON'S FUTURE AND HIS SUCCESSOR

I have no idea what I'm going to in August or who is going to take my job.

I have no idea who will be England manager and I don't want to know. It's completely up to the FA and the board so I'm not taking part.

It's a fantastic job, a big job, in charge of a very good team and a very good squad.

I like the job I have and I'm proud of it. The way it (his exit) happened was sad. Maybe it would have happened anyway but the way it did was a bad way.

I'm more sad about it than relieved but that's life and life goes on.

Football is like a drug so I hope to be involved in the game even in August.

But nobody is thinking about what's going to happen in August now - I'm sure the players couldn't care less.

They want to try to win the World Cup as I do and that's the only target they have.

I don't think Beckham, Owen or Rooney is thinking about who is next manager of England. That's another life.




WATCH AND LISTEN
News conference: England boss Sven Goran Eriksson



WORLD CUP COUNTDOWN
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SEE ALSO
Beckham dismisses injury worries
27 Feb 06 |  Internationals
Lampard OK with foreign successor
27 Feb 06 |  Internationals
Alan Hansen's column
27 Feb 06 |  Football


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