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Saturday, 22 June, 2002, 09:46 GMT 10:46 UK
Eriksson wants winter break
Eriksson said the draining effects of the Premiership season hindered England
England's players were tired and injury prone
BBC Sport Online's Phil McNulty

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England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson will hold talks with the FA about a Premiership winter break after the World Cup exit against Brazil.

Eriksson admits he would like to see a reduction in the size of the top flight, and claims England's future would be helped with a cut in the amount of club football.

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You are coming to a World Cup tournament and you are starting with tired players
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Sven-Goran Eriksson
The Swede made his plea as he prepared to leave Japan for England after the 2-1 World Cup quarter-final defeat against Brazil in Shizuoka.

"I think to try and have less football in the Premiership would be important," said Eriksson.

"I also think having a winter break would be good for the players, but I don't know how far we are away from that."

Eriksson added: "It is something I will take up with the FA when I start work again.

"When there are these problems, you can't expect a player to be 100% fit, or as fit as he was before Christmas.

"You are coming to a World Cup tournament and you are starting with tired players.

'Hargreaves the fittest'

"The World Cup is a big party and it is sad you can't see the best players. I am also talking about France and other teams in that respect.

"I heard some complaints from other national managers and also read an article by Franz Beckenbauer on the subject which was very good."

Eriksson revealed that in tests, England's fittest player was Bayern Munich's Owen Hargreaves - who ironically was injured in a collision with team-mate Michael Owen in the win against Argentina.

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Steven Gerrard would have helped a lot because he is one of the best midfielders anywhere
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Sven-Goran Eriksson
He said: "Every player plays in the Premiership apart from Owen Hargreaves, and he was the fittest player we had in the squad.

"It is easy to understand because he had a couple of months break in the winter.

"He is a young boy who is fit and can run, but the winter break is absolutely vital."

Eriksson admitted David Beckham was not at his best after recovering from a broken foot, and that the absence of Liverpool's Steven Gerrard was a crucial factor.

He said: "Beckham can play better football than he did in the World Cup, but if you consider he had been away for seven weeks beforehand, he did very well.

"I have not talked about Steven Gerrard during the World Cup, but I will now.

"He would have helped a lot because he is one of the best midfield players you can find anywhere in the world."


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GROUP F
  P GD PTS
SWEDEN 3 +1 5
ENGLAND 3 +1 5
ARGENTINA 3 0 4
NIGERIA 3 -2 1

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