Eriksson says ‘old guys’ right for England
BANGKOK: Former England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson Friday backed current boss Roy Hodgson’s decision to stick with the country’s “old guys” — saying he had no one better to replace them.
Eriksson, speaking to AFP after taking up a new post in Thailand, said 30-something stalwarts John Terry, Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard remained the best choice as England embark on 2014 World Cup qualifying.
“That means he hasn’t found anyone better… so he has decided to stick with the old guys,” Erkisson said of the trio, who were all members of his 2006 World Cup squad.
“They are still playing regularly for their clubs, why shouldn’t they be in the national team?”
This week, Hodgson made a robust defence of his old stagers as England prepare to open their qualifying campaign in Moldova, followed by a home game against Ukraine next week.
“Because I think they are good enough, that’s why,” Hodgson shot back, when asked why he had picked the three.
“I want to win football matches and I won’t be prepared to throw players of Terry, Lampard and Gerrard’s quality away from the national team until I am sure there are much better players who can take their place and help us win games,” he added.
Eriksson will watch England’s progress from Bangkok, where he is advising Thai Premier League side BEC Tero Sasana “until the end of the season”, which finishes next month.
Considered one of the game’s best managers when he took the England job in 2001, he has since endured unsuccessful spells at English clubs Manchester City, Notts County and Leicester City, and national sides Mexico and Ivory Coast.
“It’s a big challenge,” he said of his new job.
“Football is getting better here, the interest is getting higher and they want to learn… people understand football and talk football in Thailand.”
The Serie A-winning coach, who was the first foreigner to manage England, has previous links with Thailand.
Billionaire former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra hired Eriksson to manage Manchester City in 2007, while in 2010 the Thai owners of Leicester appointed him for an ill-fated spell in England’s second tier.
He said he was hoping for an enjoyable time in Thailand, the Southeast Asian tourism hotspot known for its beach resorts and smiling people.
“(Thailand) is an easy country to live… great food, weather and nice people,” he said.