Sven-Goran Eriksson Speaks Exclusively To BoyleSports On 2022 World Cup
Playing the 2022 World Cup this winter could finally see England land the trophy for the first time since 1966.
That’s according to former Three Lions manager Sven-Goran Eriksson, who has spoken to BoyleSports this week ahead of Nations League matches against Italy and Germany.
WELCOME TO THE BOYLESPORTS BLOG & NEWS SITE
Let’s reward you with some Free Bets!
Eriksson managed England from 2001-2006 and has looked back on how his plans were affected at the 2002 and 2006 World Cups, plus his memories as boss with what was dubbed the ‘Golden Generation’.
And now the Swede reckons Gareth Southgate’s side have a better chance than before to win the World Cup in Qatar, despite the disruption to the Premier League in England and other domestic leagues around the globe.
PLAYER EXHAUSTION FROM A SEASON – BETTER TO PLAY MID-SEASON RATHER THAN SUMMER?
In one way, it’s better in the winter. But that’s the only thing which is better.
The players are not too tired because the season is still young so they will not be exhausted, which Premier League players are when you come to the summer time because the season is so long and the breaks are nothing.
That’s different to many other countries around the world, where you have a long break during the winter time.
So in that way it’s better in the winter time I think.
WHAT ARE YOUR MEMORIES OF MANAGING PLAYERS BEFORE A WORLD CUP AS A RESULT?
Well my first World Cup with England, 2002, I remember we took in a Dutch fitness coach.
And on the first day of the pre-World Cup, we tested the players. In the evening I asked the fitness coach, ‘what shall we do tomorrow, physically?’.
He said ‘my opinion Sven is send them on a one-week holiday’. They are finished. And we couldn’t do that of course.
It was always tricky to train them, there were a lot of individual training because some were okay, others were very, very tired.
I always said that was one of the reasons England was a little handicapped, because a Premier League season is so long, with no breaks. I tried to get a winter break but it was impossible, they told me.
Everyone in the Premier League said yeah, we agree, but we can’t do it. That’s it, Sven.
I think all those great players for England, most of them, they played Premier League of course, they played FA Cup, and they played a cup in Europe, the Champions League.
If you are one of the best players, you don’t put them on the bench, you play all these important games. So of course there were players from Arsenal, Chelsea, United, the bigger clubs who played in Europe.
DOMESTIC LEAGUE ISSUES WITH A MID-SEASON WORLD CUP
It creates a lot of problems, I think. When I heard for the first time they were going to play it in November and December, I was extremely surprised.
I couldn’t believe the Premier League would allow that. Premier League is a fantastic league, best in the world, but it’s also a money machine. To disturb that in the middle of the season, I couldn’t believe that.
I can understand the managers, they just started the league and they are working with the teams, and found the best formations and suddenly they are playing a World Cup in the middle of the season. I think that would disturb the coaching system very much.
MEMORIES ON ENGLAND WAGS IN 2006 – ANY ADVICE FOR GARETH SOUTHGATE?
Of course, we had Victoria Beckham and that didn’t make it easier – it made it fantastic for the press, and it became what it was.
But all the countries I knew, Sweden for example, I knew exactly what they did with their wives and so on, the same as we did.
And I don’t think any Swedish paper ever talked about it because it’s natural and I think most of the teams were doing that. In England it became huge in the press and a scandal, but I can’t see what the scandal is.
Of course the wives, we saw them maybe once a week at dinner and I decided when that should be, and the rest of the days of course the wives were invited here and there and the FA helped them not to be sat in a hotel, bored, and I think that was great.
But whatever they did it was a scandal, if they went to a bar, if they went to a restaurant, if they went out shopping. They were totally normal things.
WAS THE REACTION IN THE PRESS UNHELPFUL?
A little bit, but I don’t think all of those players know what the English press is.
The football press of course, but the other side of the press, so I don’t think they were that disturbed for that.
THE PLAYER RIGHT NOW YOU WISH YOU HAD IN 2001-2006
It’s very easy, Harry Kane. He is a golden goalscorer, wherever he plays and you always need that.
He’s not only a goalscorer, he’s a target player, he can make assists, he’s big, he’s a good header, good feet, he’s strong, not the quickest in the world but he’s quick.
He has everything and he could be the one who wins the World Cup for England and maybe he’ll be the top goalscorer at this World Cup. Every team needs a player like that.
It’s only one of them, he’s very special. I like him and I suppose he will be one of the most important players for England.
THE PLAYER FROM 2001-2006 THAT ENGLAND NEED NOW IN 2022
We had a midfield of Beckham, Scholes, Gerrard and Lampard. You don’t want to rest any of those, then you have Owen, born goalscorer, and Rooney of course.
For the team we had at the time, 10/11 extremely good players, but if you had injuries, 1, 2 or 3, you struggled to find quality in number 13, 14 and 15.
But that’s what England have today, I think in every position they have an extremely good bench of players. But to have another Kane? They don’t.
BEST TEAM AND PLAYER YOU FACED AS ENGLAND BOSS
The best team we faced, I would say Brazil 2002. Even when they were one player down, 10 against our 11, we could not get the ball from them. Technically they were extremely good and there you could pick any player, Ronaldinho who scored a goal for example.
They won the World Cup, they beat us, and I had nothing to say about that because they deserved to beat us, and they deserved to win the World Cup.
Ronaldinho was the most important because he won that game for them.
SUCCESS OF THE WOMEN’S TEAM TO INSPIRE THE MEN IN QATAR
In one way, I guess so. It’s possible I think. But when the team goes to the upcoming World Cup, they will not think about that.
I think it’s an inspiration, whichever England team win something, if it’s a women’s team or junior team, that’s good for the sport.
Remember, always gamble responsibly. Here’s our Safer Gambling Guide.