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Friday, 21 June, 2002, 17:31 GMT 18:31 UK
Eriksson looks ahead
England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson
Eriksson believes England will be stronger in four years

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Sven-Goran Eriksson's continued presence as England coach has been guaranteed by the World Cup exit against Brazil.

Eriksson has been continually linked with a return to Lazio, the club he left to start his renaissance of England's international fortunes.

And if the Swede had performed the miracle of leading England to World Cup victory for the first time since 1966, he may have felt the only way to go would be down.

He may have asked himself how he could follow the ultimate - and it would have been an understandable response.

Open Quote
In four years, hopefully, we will have more or less the same squad and hopefully we will do better
Close Quote
England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson

Eriksson's assistant Tord Grip hinted that the England coach missed the cut and thrust of day-to-day club management, but all the signs and whispers after the quarter-final defeat against Brazil is say the Swede is in it for the long haul.

And this is because Eriksson feels England have a depth of talent that makes Euro 2004 and the World Cup in Germany in 2006 a more realistic opportunity for victory than the Japanese campaign ever was.

He said: "We were very close, but not close enough. In four years, hopefully, we will have more or less the same squad and hopefully we will do better."

Rio Ferdinand has emerged as a world class defender
Rio Ferdinand has emerged as a world class defender

This was a clear hint that Eriksson is staying, and chief executive Adam Crozier's admiration for the Swede is so great that it would be no surprise if they tried to tie him down to a new longer term deal.

England's assault on glory fizzled out tamely against Brazil, the expected epic never materialising and Eriksson's team displaying a carelessness that cost them dear.

But Eriksson has worked with England's players for an extended period now - and knows a couple more years of fine tuning will make them stronger and better.

England have one of the finest young defenders in the world in Rio Ferdinand, while the fulcrum of Manchester United's midfield will still be around in the shape of David Beckham, Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt.

Liverpool's Steven Gerrard will hopefully be free of injury, while in attack Michael Owen will be at his peak and West Ham United's Jermain Defoe will have emerged.

Joe Cole and Kieron Dyer have also had a taste of World Cup action, so Eriksson's infrastructure is already in place.

West Ham youngster Jermaine Defoe
Jermaine Defoe has shown huge potential

Blackburn's David Dunn and Leeds United's Alan Smith will add to the strength, while goalkeepers Chris Kirkland and Paul Robinson will battle to succeed David Seaman.

This makes Eriksson believe he can shape a golden future for England out of the wreckage of their World Cup bid - and this is why he will announce he has no intention of quitting.

Eriksson's calming influence has made him a mentor to the whole squad, and he is smart enough to know many of the pieces are in place for him to be remembered as the man who restored greatness to English football.

He said: "It is unfortunate we have to leave the tournament, but we leave it with our heads held high.

"We played well in many games and came successfully through a very tough group.

"We had very good wins over Argentina and Denmark, and played very well in the first half against Brazil, but unfortunately in the end it was not enough and we must try again in four years."

And barring any accidents, Eriksson will be the man at the helm again when the World Cup roadshow returns to Germany.


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England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson
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