A major in-depth biography of Sven-Goran Eriksson – the first foreign manager of the England football team – which chronicles his time in the hot seat, from taking over from Kevin Keegan through to the 2002 World Cup Finals in Japan and South Korea.
For the average English football fan, it is still largely a case of 'Sven who?’ when it comes to the man behind the permafrost smile. Reserved – some would say introvert – by nature, he has so far dismissed as intrusive all questions about anything other than the England team.
As a consequence, there is a fascinating story to be told about the moderate full-back who failed in his own country, retired from playing at 27, then went on to become one of the best coaches in the world.
The son of a truck driver from a small provincial town in Sweden, Eriksson left school early and worked in a social security office. He went to college to study PE and played football as an amateur before being persuaded by an older teammate Tord Grip (now his assistant with England) that his career lay elsewhere in the game.
Modest success at Roma and Fiorentina was followed by a renewal of Sampdoria's fortunes. It wasn't long before Lazio came knocking – but not before an acrimonious fallout with Blackburn when his surprise about-turn left the Lancashire club without a new manager. Phenomenal success in Rome however, where he led Lazio to the scudetto, eventually paved the way to the England manager's job.
Since then Eriksson has come under the microscope from the English press, yet despite his achievements in leading England to the quarter-finals of the World Cup, his methods and motivations remain shrouded in mystery. Until now.
Joe Lovejoy's book captures the essence of the man and goes some way to explaining his influence behind the metamorphosis of Team England – from his first day in the hot seat to the thrills and spills of Japan and South Korea. It's a journey not to be missed.
Author : Joe Lovejoy
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