Sven-Goran Eriksson: Swede smell of success

A Swede appointed by a Scot, to manage England. It is surprising how little fuss has been made over the appointment. Perhaps people have finally realised that English football and English managers are just not very good.

Sven-Goran Eriksson has certainly been one of the most successful coaches in Europe. After a fairly undistinguished playing career – for Swedish club Degerfors – he took over as coach at the age of 31. Two years later, he became manager of IFK Gothenburg and within two years they had won both the Swedish Cup and the Championship. In 1982, when he was just 34, Gothenburg won both the Swedish Cup and the UEFA Cup.

The next year Eriksson went to Benfica and promptly won the Portuguese Championship and domestic cup and reached the final of the UEFA cup. He continued his success with spells at Roma, Fiorentina, a return Benfica, Sampdoria and Lazio. Last season, he guided Lazio to the Italian Serie A title, probably the hardest championship title to win.

So his coaching pedigree, at least at club level, is not in question. There is no Englishman alive who could match his management success. But Eriksson does find himself in a slightly difficult position. He is under contract with Lazio until the end of the season, and he has already angered the club’s president, Sergio Cragnotti, by dropping everything to fly to England for a press conference. Cragnotti has warned Eriksson must honour his contract to the letter, and the Swede could already be courting the sack by paying too much attention to the England job while he is still full time manager of Lazio.

So what should he do? Of course it will be difficult for him to ignore English football in the time before he officially takes up the reigns, but there is one way he could leave club management and make everyone happy. The one major club trophy that he has yet to win is the Champions League. Lazio have managed to qualify for the second group stage of this year’s tournament although most of their games were played before the Serie A season kicked off. This is quite an achievement and Lazio remain amongst the favourites to lift the trophy this season.

What better way to say goodbye to Lazio than to leave them as champions of Europe? What better way to underline his authority as he moves to the England job than to have achieved a goal that makes him officially the best manager in Europe?

Simple. The best career move for Sven Goran Eriksson is to make Lazio European champions. Nothing stands in his way. Except, Real Madrid, AC Milan, Arsenal, Manchester United, Anderlecht, Deportivo, Valencia…… A piece of cake.

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