Like in England, new Azkals manager likes the pressure of taking the job

Like in England, new Azkals manager likes the pressure of taking the job

The appointment of Sven-Göran Eriksson as the new Philippines boss has got the world talking. Kevin Estrada/Dugout Philippines
By Kevin Estrada

TAGUIG -- New Philippines manager Sven-Göran Eriksson likes the pressure of taking the new job, just like when he was with England in the past decade.

On Monday's media event that confirmed his appointment as the Azkals tactician, the Swede saw the Filipino football press as a welcome sight, signifying that the game is a huge deal in a basketball-mad nation ahead the two major tournaments, the AFF Championship and the AFC Asian Cup.

"It's nice to see so many people. That means that football is important here in the Philippines," he said about the reception that he got since his hiring got the entire world talking about the side which is now one of Asia's rising forces.

The legendary Swede was notable in his five-year tenure at the world's most impossible job, managing the Three Lions that has David Beckham, Steven Gerrard and others to three quarterfinal appearances in both the World Cup and the European Championships at the turn of the new millennium.

But for him, there's no clear difference in handling a World Cup winner and an ASEAN powerhouse, saying that the pressure is just a normal thing in football.

"If you have a job in football and you have no pressure all the time, then you have the wrong job," Eriksson quipped as he had a week to turn the Azkals into tip-top form heading into the AFF Suzuki Cup which kicks off next week. "I like it and I look forward to it."

In relation to that, he added that there's no dissimilarity in the characters in a national side, alluding from his time with England who had a Golden Generation at his disposal and now to the Azkals who had the Younghusbands and Neil Etheridge, players who traced their roots to the home of football.

"Inside, they are men working hard and they want to stay up all the time," he added.

And with their opener against Singapore just a week away, he left a slight shade on his predecessor, a former England skipper who left the post without even holding a single training session.
"I'm sure that I'm gonna stay much longer than he did, that's for sure."
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