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Man Utd rue failure to land Kompany

Manchester derby 48 minutes ago
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By ESPN Staff
May 30, 2006

Eriksson set to name side for Paraguay opener

Sven-Goran Eriksson will reveal his World Cup plans today in the friendly against Hungary.

Eriksson says he will start with the team he expects to play against Paraguay, on June 10, although he will make a late check on Michael Owen.

Top-scorer Owen needed a scan on a tight thigh muscle after training yesterday.

The scan showed no damage but Eriksson may still opt to rest the Newcastle star, on the way back from a broken foot, in favour of Peter Crouch.

The England boss seems determined to play with only one recognised striker against the Hungarians.

He will pack a five-man midfield but could spring a surprise by including Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher as a midfield anchorman rather than Michael Carrick.

Eriksson seems to have decided his defensive midfielder must be a ball-winner and is not convinced Carrick can do that job.

With Ledley King injured, he tried Carragher in the role in the closing stages of last week's B international against Belarus.

The England manager looks set to make a U-turn on his 4-4-2 system, less than a month after admitting he would pair Crouch with Owen in attack against the Paraguayans.

Ahead of the Hungary game, Eriksson said: 'When we start tomorrow it will be the team we think might start against Paraguay.

'We could start with Crouch and Owen and we could start in another way as well.'

Asked if he was planning to look at alternatives up front in this week's friendlies, he said: 'Yes.'

This is a serious change from May 8, when Eriksson said: 'If I had to do it today I think I would start with Peter Crouch and Michael Owen if he is match-fit.

'That would be the natural choice and playing the four best midfielders.'

Eriksson appears to have changed his mind, using evidence accumulated from two weeks of training and the B team defeat to Belarus last week, when Owen and Crouch started up front.

Wayne Rooney is obviously absent from Eriksson's plans. Rooney will have a scan on his broken foot on June 7 to assess his chances of being fit for the tournament.

Manchester United have brought the scan forward seven days at the request of Eriksson, who is concerned about FIFA's final deadline for him to replace injured players on June 9.

England will turn to Jermain Defoe or Andrew Johnson from the standby list if Rooney is not ready for the World Cup finals.

Eriksson booked the friendly against Hungary because he thought they would provide similar opposition to World Cup opponents Sweden.

The best-laid plans of the England boss backfired, however, when Hungary sacked boss Lothar Matthaus.

Eriksson said: 'When we decided to play Hungary and I phoned up Lothar Matthaus to ask if he wanted a game, maybe at Wembley, but that's gone.

'When he said yes, I told him he had to play like Sweden. He said that was okay, but now the manager has gone.'