Sheepshanks confident

DAVID Sheepshanks last night remained optimistic that England would qualify for the World Cup but was staying tight-lipped on manager Sven-Goran Eriksson's future.

By Derek Davis

DAVID Sheepshanks last night remained optimistic that England would qualify for the World Cup but was staying tight-lipped on manager Sven-Goran Eriksson's future.

The Ipswich Town chairman is on the FA's international committee that will decide the Swede's fate following England's humiliating 1-0 defeat by Northern Ireland on Wednesday.

The FA meet next week and while there has been no confirmation that Eriksson's position will be discussed, there can be little doubt it will be top of the agenda following the outcry after England's abject display.


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Sheepshanks last night told the EADT: “I and no doubt my colleagues, were as disappointed as the rest of the country with the disappointing performance on Wednesday and I'm sure Sven and the team felt the same.

“Everyone who supports England is looking for something much better against Austria and Poland that will reflect the undoubted skills our players possess.

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“I remain confident that we will qualify for the World Cup finals in Germany despite Wednesday's set-back.”

As a member of the international committee Sheepshanks was reluctant to comment further about any possible outcome of next week's meeting.

The clamour for Eriksson to be removed from his £4m-a-year post has increased following the Irish debacle which came after an unconvincing win in Wales and an embarrassing 4-1 friendly defeat in Denmark.

Eriksson has vowed not to resign, but admitted: “Something has happened which shouldn't have happened and it's up to us to turn it right. But if you want to know who is responsible, then it's always me. I have to turn it right.

“It's about working, talking and not panicking. If we panic and switch 11 players, then it will never work. I should like to see all the big players we have fit 100%.

“If we want to play at the World Cup, we all have the knives here,” he admitted, indicating his throat. “But I'm sure we will respond in a very positive way.”

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