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By ESPN Staff
Jan 26, 2006

LMA urge FA to replace Sven with Englishman

The League Managers' Association have urged the Football Association to show confidence in some of the outstanding graduates of their own coaching development schemes by at least considering them as a replacement for Sven-Goran Eriksson.

The Swede will leave the England job after this summer's World Cup and the search is now on to find his successor.

The LMA believe the Premiership contains some 'outstanding English candidates' for the job and argue that a grounding in the FA coaching system should be seen as a seal of quality by the governing body's decision-makers.

LMA vice-chairman Frank Clark said: 'We would hope the very least (the FA) will do is consider some of our members who have come through the English FA's own coaching and development system.

'We have worked very hard on the training and development of our managers and coaches and really the pinnacle of that whole pyramid is the England team manager's job.

'I also happen to think there are some very good English candidates out there and certainly that some of the outstanding candidates are at least considered.

'I am sure the FA will be looking for the best man for the job. What we are saying is being English, having come through the FA coaching development programme, is a quality. These coaches have an understanding of the game and how it works in England.'

Bolton manager Sam Allardyce is the bookmakers' favourite among English bosses to succeed Eriksson, with Middlesbrough's Steve McClaren - already Eriksson's assistant with England - and Charlton boss Alan Curbishley also linked.

But Dutch coach Guus Hiddink, currently serving as boss of PSV Eindhoven and Australia, is also a forerunner and has vastly greater experience of the world game than any of the English candidates.

Clark accepts the absence of an English manager at any of the Premiership's top clubs, or for that matter at any of Europe's biggest club sides, shows the perception of homegrown coaches is not as positive as it once was, going back to the days when Sir Bobby Robson had great success at PSV, Porto and Barcelona.

'What we have to do in England is prove the quality of our coaching and development, so that people will look and say, 'there are some really good candidates coming through the English system, we will give them an opportunity',' Clark added.

'It's no good sitting on our hands and moaning that clubs should not appoint foreigners, we have got to try to improve the quality of our own coaches so that clubs will not automatically be tempted to look abroad when they have a vacancy.

'Why are there no English managers in top European jobs? It comes back to the perception of a few years ago that English coaches and managers were not of sufficient high quality.

'There is no kind of bias about anybody, it is about persuading these clubs that English managers do have something to offer.'

Clark accepts there is a lack of proven trophy-winning pedigree or great European experience among the English contenders, but said: 'You have got to judge the lack of silverware alongside the resources they have available.

'More relevant is the relative lack of European experience and that obviously is a concern. But it is not necessarily essential, with today's modern communications you do not necessarily have to have worked in Europe for years to know what is happening.'