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England : Who is fit to replace Eriksson anyway?

Sven Goran Eriksson will now quit the England job after the World Cup in Germany - but is there an English manager who is ready to step up? Naz thinks that England have to appoint an English manager this time round and he profiles all the candidates..

The main concern is that many of the people previously touted as the future England boss have recently fallen well short of the standards expected. There is little doubt that this time around, the FA have little choice but to appoint an Englishman. But all of the potential candidates have plenty of flaws, which is why Eriksson can’t be replaced right away. Here are the possible candidates, and why – at present at least – they are not cut out for the England job.

Naz thinks that England have to appoint an English manager this time round

 Steve McClaren

 Middlesbrough manager and former assistant to Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, Steve McClaren has seemingly been being “groomed” to replace Eriksson if and when the time is right. But Middlesbrough are now perched just above the relegation zone, and can’t seem to find points from anywhere. All of this despite McClaren splashing big cash on the likes of Yakubu (£7.5 million), Massimo Macarone (£7million) and paying big wages to the likes of Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Mark Viduka. On top of this, McClaren will also always be associated with the Eriksson era, which - unless England do superbly at the World Cup – will be seen as a time of underachievement, uninspired football and scandal.

Steve Bruce

It wasn’t so long ago that Steve Bruce was the man that had turned Birmingham City from a mid-table team in what was then Division One, into an established Premiership side. But this season has been a disaster for Bruce, as Birmingham are deep in the relegation zone. Bruce can’t blame lack of funds, as he has managed to sign established players such as Emile Heskey and Mikkael Forsell, as well as rescuing talents such as Jermain Pennant and Matthew Upson from reserve team football.

Yet too many of Bruce’s signings – such as Mario Melchiot, Walter Pandiani and previously Jesper Gronkjaer – have underachieved, and only the manager can take the blame for squandered cash. Bruce also doesn’t come across as an inspirational motivator, which is what in many peoples opinion, England need.

Alan Curbishley

For a number of years now, Alan Curbishley has been doing a sound job at Charlton Athletic, quietly establishing them as a key component in the Premiership. Recently their form has suffered and therefore his name doesn’t get linked with the top job in English football so much. The main negative against his name is that he hasn’t spread his wings beyond the Valley. If he does so successfully, then he could well be a potential candidate for the England hot-seat. Soon enough he may well realise he has taken Charlton as far as he can, and look for pastures new to further his impressive career.

Sam Allardyce

If the England job became available tomorrow, Sam Allardyce would become one of the bookies favourites. Despite a lack of funds, he has taken Bolton to the upper reaches of the Premiership and got them into the UEFA Cup along the way. However, with the dull football that the Eriksson era has so far produced, England fans may not take well to Allardyce’s way – physical, disciplined, long-ball football. He also wouldn’t be able to have a team full of 30+ year-old foreigners.

Stuart Pearce

Almost from the moment he stepped into the Manchester City hot-seat, “Psycho” Stuart Pearce has been touted as a future England manager, something he strongly refutes so early in his managerial career. And rightly so. The FA have already made the mistake of appointing Glenn Hoddle – a manager with huge potential – before he was ready for international football, and we all know what happened next. Pearce has the passion, enthusiasm and knowledge to be a future England manager, and the fans would love him. But he needs a good few years in club management before he is ready to step up to this particular stage.

Paul Jewell

Wigan Chairman Dave Whelan – amid Eriksson’s latest scandal – was quick to put forward his manager Paul Jewell as a potential England manager alongside Pearce. Again though, the same problems arise. While Jewell in the first half of this season has achieved miracles with a side that doesn’t boast many household names, he still only has eighteen-months’ experience of managing in the Premiership (including his year with Bradford City). He is another one who potentially could have the credentials to take up the job, but at the moment it is just too soon.

So while there is a lack of an obvious replacement for Sven Goran Eriksson as England manager, it makes sense to keep faith with him in the run up to the Germany tournament. Hopefully his replacement will not forget the responsibilities that come with being the boss of the home nation of football. If, however the FA do have trouble finding a replacement, I will be more than happy to take the reins for a while.

Naz Spencer 24/01/06

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