Former England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson 'damaged' by love life details going public
SVEN-Goran Eriksson admits he was ”damaged” when his private life became a national debate.
The first foreign coach of England’s football team, now 70, was an unknown property when he was appointed from Italian football in 2001, The Sun reports.
The Swede led the Three Lions to the last eight at all three of his tournaments in charge — the 2002 and 2006 World Cups plus Euro 2004.
But while his approach on the pitch was viewed as too conservative, his relationships off the park with Nancy Dell’Olio, Ulrika Jonsson and Faria Alam were far spicier.
And Eriksson — forced to quit after indiscreet remarks to an undercover reporter just before the 2006 World Cup — conceded his high-profile bedroom antics hurt his reputation.
Eriksson, speaking in an interview for the HISTORY channel, said: “I thought I was prepared for England but I was not prepared for things outside football, my private life.
“I am not very proud that fans could probably name three of my former girlfriends.
“I don’t think it damaged my football results. But my image outside football it damaged, yes.”
Eriksson added: “My private life was not very private in England.
“In 2002, when it came out about a woman, well a Swedish one (Jonsson), I wondered what I should tell the players.
“It had nothing to do with football but I was their manager and we were going into a World Cup.
“I told them, ‘Sorry’ but one of players stood up and said, ‘Boss, welcome to England.’ That was it. I felt good. It was over.”
Eriksson’s love life was placed under an uncomfortable spotlight when Alam, then a secretary with the English Football Association, and he engaged in an affair while the Swede was in charge of the national team.
Eriksson’s reported cheating also became a hot topic when it was revealed he started seeing Swedish TV presenter Jonsson while he was still in a relationship with Dell’Olio, who later slammed the coach’s infidelity.
Life got even more uncomfortable when Jonsson dished the dirt on their relationship.
“Sex with Sven was as ordered and functional as an Ikea instruction manual. It was devoid of passion,” she said several years ago.
“Putting together a Billy bookcase would probably have left me more satisfied.”
Eriksson does regret how England’s World Cup dream ended at Germany 2006.
The Three Lions were among the favourites and went home undefeated in open play after a quarter-final penalty shootout loss to Portugal.
Eriksson said: “I still think we were not ready to win the World Cup in 2002 or Euro 2004. But we were ready in 2006.
“We should have done it. We played one hour, 10 against 11, after Wayne Rooney was sent off.
“After the game I said something like, ‘Don’t kill this young boy. You need him. You can kill me, because you don’t need me any more.’”
This article first appeared on The Sun and was republished with permission