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Last Updated: Sunday, 4 June 2006, 10:50 GMT 11:50 UK
Beardsley tips England to excel
By Richard Hookham

Peter Beardsley
Beardsley formed a formidable England striking partnership with Gary Lineker
Peter Beardsley says England's players will be desperate to hand Sven-Goran Eriksson a glorious World Cup send-off.

The former England striker, capped 59 times by his country, drew parallels between Eriksson's swansong and Bobby Robson's exit after Italia 1990.

Beardsley told BBC Sport: "The players love Sven and will battle for him - just as we did for Bobby in 1990.

"They won't need extra motivation out there but England will want to do well for the country and the manager."

Eriksson was given a rapturous reception after his last game in charge on English soil with a 6-0 rout of Jamaica at Old Trafford.

And Beardsley said: "I was delighted about that.

"Sven was given a great send-off by the supporters in Manchester because I think they recognise that, whatever else has happened, he has done a great job.

"In some ways it could work in our favour. The players will want to show their appreciation for what he's done for them and it could add that extra something in Germany.

"We had that same sort of feel in 1990 knowing Sir Bobby Robson was leaving the job - we were eager to really perform for him."

Beardsley believes Eriksson's decision to introduce giant striker Peter Crouch into his squad has been fully justified.

If Sven picked a 4-4-2, Crouch should play against Paraguay. If it's just one up front then no
Peter Beardsley

Crouch bagged a hat-trick against Jamaica and ex-Liverpool, Everton and Newcastle hero Beardsley feels he could make a real impact in the right formation.

"I think Crouch will be expected to start next week against Paraguay after that performance," said Beardsley, who was speaking at a Pepsi Max launch. "Those three goals will have only boosted his confidence further.

"From my point of view, if Sven picked a 4-4-2 then he should play. But if the manager goes with just one up front then no, because Owen has to play up there on his own.

"Owen's strike was for me probably more important than the Crouch goals - to have him hitting form and fully over his injury could make the difference for us."

However, Beardsley did offer a cautious note after the emphatic win over Jamaica at Old Trafford.

He added: "Sure it's good to have another good win under our belt and have the team scoring freely, but we shouldn't really read too much into it.

"The real test will come next week. Against Paraguay this game will mean nothing.

"But I don't believe this England team will be over-confident for the first match because against better quality opposition, the players will naturally raise their game anyway."

Beardsley was also pleased with the performance of Arsenal defender Sol Campbell, who replaced the injured John Terry after just 33 minutes.

Michael Owen
Owen's scored England's fourth goal against Jamaica

"It was great display by Sol. Sven's got real strength in his defence and to have someone like Campbell there as a replacement is a massive plus," he said.

Beardsley believes Eriksson's controversial decision to take teenager Theo Walcott could prove a masterstroke.

He said: "I'm delighted he's taking Theo Walcott. In the right match, to have that pace could really trouble sides.

"But most importantly, I genuinely believe we will see Wayne Rooney at some stage in the tournament.

"From what I've seen he has the right body language to suggest he will make it. If he does, Sven will have him as an extra weapon.

"Wayne's so physically strong I wouldn't be surprised at all if he got on later in the tournament and what a player to have in reserve."

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