2313: England: Why Eriksson has to g
by : Chris Sherrard
Eriksson is responsible for team selection and motivation. His selection, perhaps current form withstanding, was sound and hardly controversial, yet backfired to due his players letting him down. Eriksson did make mistakes later in the game as the side completely lost its shape, notably with the introduction of hopelessly inept Owen Hargreaves, but given his options on the bench and the shocking standards on show from the first XI it was not perhaps at first the foolish idea it turned out to be. At the very least Hargreaves added some energy and direction to the game, even though his control and composure made his impact negative in the end. Eriksson’s motivational skills can be called into question, given the listless performance, yet this should not have been an issue given their recent poor results and the very fact they represent their country. Some were even playing for their futures. It is this lack, however, that cost England the game and has the most serious implications.
Sven may well have lost the respect of the players and with it the ability to motivate and instruct them. It seems as though he picks the side and the side does as it pleases. This failure may well cost Sven his job if the players continue to let him down. His hope for salvation, however, may lie in the fact that next time the players really will try since it now matters, and that should they get to the World Cup they may even bother to listen to the coach. Less likely, but ultimately to be hoped for is that Sven reads the riot act to his team, picks those who have the pride to play and to play according to his direction. The key decision Eriksson may need to make is which of Gerrard and Lampard he should drop, since they have repeatedly demonstrated their inability to play together in midfield. This act would not only act as a wake-up call to the senior squad members but would enable the side to play with the genuine holding midfielder that all world cup winning sides have possessed.
To conclude Sven may well be a lame duck coach, but his players have created this image. And arguing that he does not deserve the criticism fired his way because he cannot control his players is hardly an exoneration for the beleaguered Swede’s management skills. Sven may have to go if he cannot regain this control and his departure may allow a successor to start afresh without the egotistical nightmare of the dressing room and current player politics handicapping him. However, the blame for this must be levelled at both players and coach, and the influence of the players needs to be dramatically culled.
15 September 2005
England: Why Eriksson should go nowEnough is enough, Sven. It’s time to pack up your Ikea furniture and little black book and sling your hook.
If you don’t go now England will not win the World Cup in Germany in July. In fact they will go the same way the last World Cup campaign did. And the Euro 2004 effort as well.
Eriksson’s shortcomings were exposed long ago. He is fine when things are going well and everything is rosy in the garden. But throw him a football dilemma to solve, a cul-de-sac to get out of and he is stumped.
And that’s what you get for £4.5million pounds these days is it?
Wednesday’s humbling in Belfast at the hands of a team ranked well outside the top 100 in the world, however much an anomaly those ratings are, is merely the icing on a very fragile and vulnerable cake.
Eriksson’s England show no heart or enthusiasm or idea of what they are doing. Much like their Swedish boss.
He has in his hands the finest generation of English footballers since Moore, Charlton and Greaves in the mid-60s.
And look what was achieved then. But the difference is that side had a manager who knew how to get the best out of them.
Eriksson doesn’t know how to maximise the brilliance of Steven Gerrard. Or get the most out of Player of the Year Frank Lampard.
And he is stifling the development of players like Michael Carrick and Jermaine Defoe by giving them little encouragement that their club displays will be rewarded.
A half-decent coach would get a team containing Michael Owen, Wayne Rooney, Lampard, Gerrard, Ferdinand, Terry, Cole, Beckham and Robinson to win virtually every game comfortably.
It is not rocket science. Let them all know what their role is in this star-studded team and let them get on with it. They are world class players for a reason.
For whatever reason, though, Eriksson is not capable of turning those superstars into a top notch team. And that says a lot about him and his managerial ability.
He is a good coach but not one good enough to guide a World Cup-chasing international team like England. His limitations shine through like a searing beam of light.
Does he even do anything for his money, though? Steve McClaren does all the shouting and encouraging from the sidelines during games.
So is Eriksson paid all that money so he can have an unlimited pass into Premiership grounds all season and for little more on top?
Think how much of a difference in inspiration and guidance somebody like Stuart Pearce would be.
His England team wouldn’t be rolled over by Northern Ireland and give up without a fight.
His England team wouldn’t allow itself to lie down and play dead in the middle of a World Cup or European Championship like Sven’s did against Brazil and Portugal in recent years.
The time is up for Eriksson. It was up a couple of years ago, in truth. The sad fact is the FA can’t afford to sack him and he is far too comfy to give up his contract.
So for the time being England are stuck with their manager. And it will cost them the World Cup this summer.
9 September 2005