Terminally-ill Sven-Goran Eriksson wants to be well enough to watch England take on Brazil in two months’ time – and has revealed one wish he never fulfilled.
The former England manager has pancreatic cancer – with about a year left to live at the “best case” – and the 75-year-old told Sky News’ Niall Paterson he wants to stay as healthy as he can in that time.
He wants to “not have too much pain” and plans to make it to England to watch the Three Lions taking on Brazil on 23 March at Wembley.
Asked how he wants to spend the time he has left, he said: “Travelling, looking at a lot of football still.
“I hope maybe to go to England and see England versus Brazil in March. Great game, a warm-up for the World Cup, because that could also be the final [of World Cup 2026].”
And the role in football that he wished didn’t pass him by?
“My father is still a Liverpool supporter and I am a Liverpool supporter too, always have been,” he said.
“So I always wished to be the manager of Liverpool and that will not happen, but I’m still a Liverpool fan.”
He said waking up without pain is a “great gift” that we “take for granted” while healthy, but not when ill.
His children had taken him to hospital after he “felt dizzy” and “fell”, with doctors telling him he had a “small stroke” before revealing his cancer.
Since revealing his diagnosis on Thursday, he says he has received “a lot of messages and phone calls” from former colleagues and players he coached, including from his days as England boss.
Watch the full interview with Sven-Goran Eriksson on Friday night with Niall Paterson at 8:30pm tonight
He looks back at his five-year stint with England with some regret, believing the team could have done more than three consecutive quarter-final finishes in 2002, 2004 and 2006.
As England boss, Eriksson had many dealings with Premier League clubs as he called up players, none more so than Manchester United.
With key players like Wayne Rooney, David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Rio Ferdinand and Gary Neville playing for United at the time, he reflected on some “hard words” he used to have with former Red Devils boss Sir Alex Ferguson.
Sven-Goran Eriksson says terminal cancer diagnosis was ‘shock’
Thierry Henry ‘cried almost daily’ early in pandemic
“Sometimes we needed a lot of players from Manchester United, that’s normal, they were the best club in the country,” he said, adding he “fully respects” the Scotsman.
“So there were hard words, but I can understand Sir Alex that he defended Manchester United. He hated when we took players for friendly games.”
He added: “But if I saw him two weeks later, he’d say ‘hello, my friend, how are you’.”
Between 2001 and 2006, Eriksson coached the so-called “golden generation” of footballers in the England team including Beckham, Steven Gerrard, Rooney and Frank Lampard.
While that squad didn’t manage to reach a major final, Eriksson believes the current crop is a “good team” and can win Euro 2024.