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 April 29, 2002 | 1027 IST

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Manchester United deny claims about Eriksson

Manchester United have denied reports that England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson was ready to resign after the World Cup and replace Alex Ferguson as manager of the English champions.

Saturday's Daily Mail newspaper, quoting extracts from a new biography on Ferguson, said Eriksson was set to agree to become United boss before Ferguson changed his plans in February to retire at the end of the season.

But United chief executive Peter Kenyon, asked if he could state categorically that United had never offered Eriksson the job, told BBC Radio on Sunday: "Absolutely...let's get rid of this speculation.

"Sven has done a tremendous job and got England to the World Cup finals, and I know he is committed to moving them on into the Europeans (Championship in 2004).

"There was huge speculation as you would expect once Alex said he was going to retire.

"But we want to get all this speculation behind us. What we are delighted about is that Alex is with us for another three years, and that is by far the best solution for United."


Ferguson signed a new three-year contract after deciding to delay his retirement.

In the book written by Michael Crick, called "The Boss: The Many Sides of Alex Ferguson", a senior source at the English Football Association (FA) is quoted as saying: "United offered the job to Sven. And he was very keen to do it, all set to go.

"It's amazing in some ways, but I don't think Sven enjoys being England manager that much.

"I think that Sven thought a good World Cup performance would empower him to be able to say, 'Look, I've done well for you, please let me get back to what I really love -- club football'."

Eriksson's private life has been under the media spotlight in the last week after reports he was having an affair with TV presenter Ulrika Jonsson, a fellow Swede.

Eriksson, who coached Lazio before becoming England manager in early 2001, will lead England to the World Cup finals, which begin in South Korea and Japan on May 31.

England have been drawn in group F alongside Argentina, Sweden and Nigeria.

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