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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Jan, 26, 2006

'Sven's successor doesn't have to be English' - Pearce

Stuart Pearce is adamant the Football Association should pick the best man to succeed Sven-Goran Eriksson, irrespective of whether he is English or not.

The Manchester City boss forcibly dismissed his own claims to be England coach last week after being touted for the role by Wigan chairman Dave Whelan.

A fierce patriot, Pearce believes he is far too inexperienced to even be considered for the top job, citing the likes of Sam Allardyce and Alan Curbishley as being much more qualified.

However, despite winning 78 caps for his country and appearing in two major semi-finals, the 43-year-old does not believe FA chief executive Brian Barwick should limit his choice purely to homegrown talent. Current Australia coach Guus Hiddink is one of the overseas candidates to have already expressed an interest in talking to Barwick about the England job.

And, just as he had no qualms about Eriksson being handed the role five years ago, Pearce does not believe nationality should be a barrier to an appointment.

'The only criteria the FA should work to is picking the best man for the job,' he said.

'There was a lot of kerfuffle when Sven took over, with people saying it should be an Englishman but I don't go along with that.

'I have no preference whatsoever, whether it is an Englishman or a foreign coach.

'There is bound to be a lot of speculation but all the FA have to do it sit back, look at all the options and pick the right man, which they have done on many occasions before now.

'Whoever it is, he won't be everyone's cup of tea but if they are successful in the long term, they will eventually win people over.'

Much has been made of the effect Eriksson's departure immediately after the World Cup will have on the England squad during the tournament itself.

Pearce has dual experience of the situation, having played in the 1990 World Cup under Bobby Robson, and Euro 96 during Terry Venables' time in charge.

On both occasions, England went into the competition knowing the coach would be leaving when it was over and last-four appearances each time suggests there was not the kind of negative effect many think Eriksson's exit will have.

'I don't think it matters to the players one iota,' said Pearce.

'The players should have their full concentration on the World Cup. They know what is expected of them as individuals and they will have their hands full with that.

'I worked for two managers who got to major semi-finals even though they were leaving, so I don't think we need to look any further than the World Cup. I am sure the players will be fully focussed.'

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