O'Leary slams Eriksson after takeover revelations
The storm clouds continue to hang over Sven-Goran Eriksson after the England head coach was accused of unacceptable behaviour by David O'Leary, the Aston Villa manager whom he suggested to an undercover reporter he should replace.
Although Eriksson's position is safe until after the World Cup, the continuing fall-out from the News of the World expose makes it increasingly likely the Football Association will want to make a clean break after the finals.
Until today, any criticism of Eriksson had been confined to pundits and ex-players but O'Leary's angry statement on the League Managers' Association website makes clear his - and no doubt his fellow managers' - views on the England head coach's behaviour.
Eriksson had suggested to the 'fake sheikh' that he should buy Aston Villa and install him as manager.
O'Leary responded today saying: 'It is not acceptable that the national coach speaks publicly about replacing another manager whilst he is in the post.
'I have given Sven every co-operation whenever he has asked and even supported the early finish to the season to allow more time for his World Cup preparation.
'I will of course continue to give the necessary co-operation, but want recorded my dissatisfaction and disappointment at his comments.'
O'Leary's remarks will not hasten Eriksson's exit, but the prevailing mood may yet lead him to give FA chief executive Brian Barwick an indication before the World Cup about whether he intends to stay until his contract expires in 2008 or return to club employment.
Some senior figures in the FA are fed up with yet another Eriksson controversy after his high-profile affairs and previous revelations of his talks with Chelsea and Manchester United.
Eriksson, 57, also has made little secret of his long-term intentions. In an interview with FIFA magazine last month he said: 'I should like to go back to club football before I collect my pension.
'The only thing I miss in this job is the day-to-day contact with the players as you are seldom on the football field.'
However, Alan Curbishley, one of those whose names have been mention as a possible successor, believes Eriksson is likely to remain as England manager beyond the World Cup because the FA have 'no plan B'.
The Charlton manager said in his Daily Express column: 'Sven hasn't done himself any favours with his comments, made to people he had only just met.
'But perhaps he is so sure of his position now that he can make these observations, safe in the knowledge that England go into the World Cup finals with a genuine chance of winning them.
'He has been around in football long enough to know you can get away with anything so long as you are successful.
'Let's face it, if England were to go and win the World Cup, Sven would be venerated throughout the land.
'Imagine the status it would give him, as the manager who won the World Cup for England. Could he walk away from that? Could he turn his back on such an achievement? Would he want to?'
Curbishley believes the FA must be realistic about a successor for Eriksson.
'If England fall short and Eriksson does go after the finals, it would leave the FA just a month or so to find a successor before the new season started.
'Should the FA be taking precautions now and sifting through a shortlist of English candidates? Perhaps, but it would not surprise me to see them go foreign again, simply because the credentials required for the job demand whoever gets it should be experienced, with as working knowledge of international football.
'The FA should be looking into who is around, getting them into the international scene, seeing what they have to offer and encouraging them.
'Right now, there appears to be no 'plan B'. That's why I don't think we have heard the last of Sven, and why the FA are keener than we might think for him to stay on.'