Sven stays silent on tactics
By Tom Adams
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Sven Goran Eriksson has remained tight-lipped over his tactics to face Wales.England coach Sven Goran Eriksson has remained tight-lipped over his tactical approach ahead of Saturday's crucial World Cup qualifier with Wales, live on Sky Sports 1.
The England coach is expected to opt for a 4-5-1 formation, leaving Jermain Defoe out in the cold, and has tinkered with the approach in training ahead of the trip to The Millennium Stadium.
Captain David Beckham is ready to be utilised in a holding role in midfield, allowing Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard greater license to roam forward, and Eriksson holds no qualms in handing the Real Madrid star the role that he is accustomed to at club, but not country, level.
Much has been made of Eriksson's summit meeting with senior players that appeared to affect a change in the Swede's perspective, although the England boss was keeping his cards close to his chest due to the enormity of the tie.
"I won't confirm or deny anything," Eriksson told a press conference.
"It's a World Cup qualifying game and an extremely important game that we need to win if we want to win the group.
"So to disclose who or how we are going to play - no.
"David Beckham is one of those players who can do a lot of things on the pitch.
"For Real Madrid last season he played there almost all the time, almost never to the right, this season he is playing in a diamond formation, so of course he can do it."
Beckham himself has moved to defend his manager after accusations that player power has grown too prominent within the England camp, as Eriksson sat down with senior members of the squad to discuss the repercussions of the disastrous 4-1 friendly defeat to Denmark.
Eriksson defended his consultation, an approach he has welcomed for decades, and again remained coy as to what conclusions regarding Saturday's clash were drawn from the meeting.
"Since 1976 I've had meetings with my players and if I don't talk to them, who do I talk to?" Eriksson continued.
"First of all in the weeks after the Denmark match I talked to the coaching staff - Sammy Lee, Steve McClaren, Ray Clemence - almost every day.
"Then we have to of course talk to the players.
"I had a meeting with three of them to discuss certain things - and what we discussed I'd prefer to tell you tomorrow, not today."
With a place in football's most prestigious competition at stake the atmosphere is sure to be fierce in Cardiff, and England's cause has been boosted by the confirmation that Liverpool star Gerrard has been passed fit to take on John Toshack's men.
Selection dilemmas still persist over the right back slot in the absence of Gary Neville, but Eriksson insists he has no qualms about turning to inexperienced Charlton full back Luke Young should he choose to do so.
"The doctors and physios have told me Steven is fit.
"He has been training very well yesterday and this afternoon we will have a new practice session.
"It's not a gamble [to pick Young], absolutely not.
"Players are picked for the squad for the two qualifying games and it can't be a gamble because they have been picked because I think they can handle the situation, that they can play, no gamble."
England must recover from their dismal showing against Denmark and record a result to keep pace with Group Six leaders Poland, and the England boss is confident that in the pressure cooker atmosphere of The Millennium Stadium his charges will rise to the occasion.
"If we want to win the group we have to win almost all our games until we meet Poland.
"I expect an excellent atmosphere in the stadium, it will be very much for Wales of course but I think there will be 6,500 English fans there which is good - but of course it's always difficult, it's a derby.
"Wales will want revenge for [the 2-0 defeat at] Old Trafford so it's not going to be easy at all.
"The attitude of the players is fantastic.
"I'm not that worried tomorrow - of course you never know the result but the attitude is absolutely right. These players have always stood up when you come into a qualification game.
"It's always a danger [of overconfidence], that's why I showed them a video of the second half against Denmark - after that you can't be too confident.
"We are favourites of course, we have everything to lose and Wales have everything to win. We have to play good football and be patient as I think Wales will defend with a lot of people."