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Eriksson's exit not a World Cup worry, says Lampard

By Staff
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MANCHESTER, England, Feb 27 (Reuters) England midfielder Frank Lampard says that manager Sven-Goran Eriksson's departure after the World Cup will change nothing in the team's approach to the finals in Germany.

Eriksson is stepping down after the tournament following unwitting comments made during a Sunday newspaper sting operation in January about various players and the English game.

With England gathering for the first time since the Swede's announcement, as they prepare for Wednesday's friendly against Uruguay in Liverpool, Lampard told reporters: ''It doesn't change a great deal.'' ''It doesn't change anything in terms of the short-term goal to try to win the World Cup. If the manager decides to speak to us then fair enough, if not then the team needs to concentrate on our aim which is to win the World Cup.'' Lampard felt the decision on Eriksson's successor was purely a matter for the Football Association and that the chosen candidate did not have to be English.

''I've never held the view that only an Englishman can be England manager. In modern football...it would be pretty one-dimensional to think that way,'' he said.

''The best man for the job, who gets the best results for the country, is the man we want in the job regardless of where he comes from.'' Looking back at his own England career, which took off with the midfielder's improvement in form after his move from West Ham United to Chelsea and Eriksson's arrival in early 2001, Lampard acknowledged the Swede's help.

THANKFUL LAMPARD ''I've enjoyed my time under the manager and it's nice when somebody gives you confidence and has belief in you to put you in the team,'' he said.

''Before he came here I hadn't been involved in big England games so I'll always be thankful no matter how the World Cup turns out.'' Goalkeeper Paul Robinson also felt Eriksson's premature exit would not be a handicap in Germany and that the timing of appointing his successor was not an issue.

''I'm just concentrating on the World Cup,'' he said. ''Sven is in charge for the World Cup, he has been for the last few years and he's done well and got us to where we are today. Now as much as anything we want to win the World Cup for him as much as anyone else.'' As for Eriksson's successor, Robinson said: ''It's very important that they get the right man for the job. It's up to them when they appoint the man.

''At the moment we know where we are for the next two or three months, we have Sven in charge. We have a very important tournament coming up and that's what we're all looking forward to.'' REUTERS DH KN2156

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