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Pogba signs fan's Man United shirt

The Toe Poke
By ESPN Staff

Eriksson: Capello's squad stronger than mine

Former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson is certain the squad Fabio Capello will take to the World Cup next summer will be stronger than the ones he had.

Although it is over three years since Eriksson vacated the England hot-seat, plenty of sceptics still argue the Swede wasted the supposed golden generation.

Yet, as the Three Lions wrap up the most successful qualifying campaign in their history this week, Eriksson insists the squad Capello has at his disposal is better.

"It is stronger now. I am sure about that," he said. "They have a lot more mature players, who are at exactly the right age. A lot of the important players have already been to major tournaments. That is bound to help as well. I just hope they can be successful."

Eriksson will be reacquainted with the England team on Saturday night when he is a studio guest for the groundbreaking internet broadcast of the World Cup qualifier in the Ukraine.

Supporters are being asked to either subscribe to national newspaper websites, or attend selected local cinemas to see if England - who secured qualification by beating Croatia at Wembley last month - can deny the Ukraine a play-off berth by extending an eight-match winning streak.

"The players are there and the manager is good," enthused Eriksson. "Everything is in place for them to do extremely well next summer. It is still a long way off, which is one of the problems, but I am sure England are capable of going very close."

Such comments are bound to heighten expectation around Capello's England. As someone who guided England to three quarter-finals - but no further - Eriksson knows better than most how rampant expectation around the national side can be.

Not that he believes Capello's players should be affected. After playing for so long at the highest level, it just comes with the territory.

"Expectations are always high around England," said Eriksson. "But that is part of the game. No-one can deny England have been one of the best teams in qualifying.

"They have done so incredibly well. Now everyone will look to see whether they can maintain that form in South Africa. I think they can."


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