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Bonus Balls

by | 31st, March 2004

‘ENGLAND may have found the money to keep Sven Goran Eriksson in charge of the national team until a better offer comes along, but the players are feeling the pinch.They are apparently unhappy that the FA has cut their Euro 2004 bonuses, with incentives on the table only for reaching the semi-final or beyond.

The manager says a semi-final exit in Portugal “would not be a disaster”, suggesting (says the Times) that the last four should be considered par for this squad.

In which case, one wonders why the players should be upset at not being rewarded for a below-par display.

However, the Times does suggest that with the recent upheavals surrounding Rio Ferdinand and Alan Smith, it is in everyone’s interests to conclude negotiations well before the tournament starts.

Not that tonight’s friendly against Sweden is likely to give much indication of England’s prospects in the summer.

Steven Gerrard has been chosen as captain of a side that is far from England’s first choice XI, including (or so the Indy believes) Alan Thompson and Owen Hargreaves in midfield and Phil Neville and Jamie Carragher at full-back.

The Telegraph reports that it is an opportunity for fringe players to play their way into the squad for Portugal.

“I have until June 3 to change my mind,” said Eriksson.

Oh no! He’s not off to Chelsea again, is he?’



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