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Oct 19, 2009

Sweden show interest in County chief Eriksson

Sweden have approached Notts County director of football Sven-Goran Eriksson as they seek to appoint a new manager of the national side.

Eriksson has emerged as a leading candidate for the role after Lars Lagerback stepped down following the country's failure to qualify for the World Cup finals, bringing to an end his nine-year tenure in charge of the team.

Following reports linking Eriksson with the North Korea job, the Swedish Football Association have confirmed they have discussed the position with the County director of football, amongst a number of other figures.

Jonas Nystedt, head of communications at the organisation, said: "Last Thursday, after the Albania game, the board had a meeting and discussed what route should be taken. Things that were discussed were, obviously, who it should possibly be, their education and career, reputation and location and things like that.

"There is a special list of five to ten names and Sven-Goran Eriksson is on that list. What the Swedish FA did over the weekend was to contact a lot of these people, not just Sven-Goran Eriksson but a lot of people. We asked them what their situation was - like what it says in their contract with their club - and whether they were interested in the job.

"Sven-Goran Eriksson has been contacted but he is only one person on the list. Obviously the rules stipulate that we would have to discuss with Notts County the situation regarding Sven-Goran Eriksson in more depth.''

The former England, Mexico and Manchester City manager is currently director of football at Meadow Lane and has reiterated on numerous occasions that he is fully committed to the ambitious plans that County have formulated, particularly having signed a five-year deal when joining the club during the summer.

When contacted by ESPN Soccernet on Monday morning, Eriksson's agent Athole Still denied having any knowledge of the approach from the Swedish national association and underlined that his client is focused on his role at County.

"If they are making an official approach then you need to speak to Notts County, I know nothing about it," Still said. "I have never discussed it with Sven. I have had no contact whatsoever. He is fully immersed in Notts County and loves it."

It is believed that Eriksson's financial demands could prevent Sweden from tempting him away from County but the head of the Swedish FA, Lars-Ake Lagrell, has confirmed he hopes to engage in dialogue with his fellow countryman.

"I am a friend of 'Svennis' and know how good a manager he is," Lagrell told the BBC. We'll have a telephone conversation on Wednesday, then I hope to know more."

Eriksson has managed Degerfors and Gothenburg in his home country, as well as enjoying spells with prominent European clubs such as Benfica, Sampdoria and Lazio, where he won the Serie A title.

Eriksson's business manager Lars Sternmarker told Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet: "Lars-Ake has spoken to both me and Svennis although I cannot reveal what was said for confidentiality reasons. But Svennis is Swedish at heart and feels very happy and flattered.''

Asked whether he thought Eriksson would take the job, Sternmarker added: "The federation has identified a number of options, and the fact they have called Svennis is not particularly strange since he is the most successful coach in Sweden. The purpose of these calls is to allow the federation to look over the possibilities, options and what the person himself wants.

"We cannot give any definite answers for a while, we think it's fun that a dialogue has been opened and that there is scope for more discussions.''

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