(Reuters) - The only reason Roy Hodgson has been allowed to carry on as England manager after their World Cup fiasco is because he is English, the team's former manager Sven-Goran Eriksson has said.
Eriksson, who led England from 2001 to 2006 and took them to the quarter-finals of three major tournaments, told the SportExpressen newspaper that a foreign manager who presided over such poor results would have been fired immediately.
"Roy Hodgson stays because he is an Englishman. Had he been a foreigner, there is not a chance in the world he would have been left in the job," said the 66-year-old, who is now head coach of Chinese Super League side Guanzhou R&F.
Having suffered 2-1 defeats by fellow former World Cup winners Italy and Uruguay, England are bottom of Group D and cannot reach the knockout stage. Their final game is against surprise leaders Costa Rica in Belo Horizonte on Tuesday.
"I think things have changed. When I was (with) England, expectations were that we would get to the semi-finals and finals," Eriksson said. "Now, before the World Cup, it was all about getting out of the group.
"When I had the national team we always talked of quarter-finals, semi-finals. If I hadn't taken England to the quarter-finals of three tournaments, I'd never have been allowed to stay."
Eriksson's private life featured heavily in Britain's tabloid newspapers until his departure from the England job after the 2006 World Cup, but he feels he has unfinished business with the national team.
"If they're aren't going to keep Hodgson they can just as well bring me back, so I can finish what I started," the Swede was quoted as saying by SportExpressen.
Editing by Ken Ferris