Sven-Goran Eriksson denies race was a factor in choosing England captain

Former national team manager says there were never any discussions about the post

PUBLISHED : Monday, 03 March, 2014, 10:02pm
UPDATED : Monday, 03 March, 2014, 10:02pm

Former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson has denied Sol Campbell's claim he would have been captain of the national side "for more than 10 years" had he been white.

Campbell, a leading black English players of his generation, made the controversial allegations in a new biography, extracts of which were serialised in The Sunday Times at the weekend.

The 39-year-old former Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal defender said: "I believe if I was white, I would have been England captain for more than 10 years - it's as simple as that.

I want a captain that goes in and gets you going. Sol has never had the demeanour
Ian Wright

"I think the FA wished I was white. I had the credibility, performance-wise to be captain," added Campbell, who led his country on three occasions.

But the Swede (pictured) told The Daily Telegraph in Britain on Monday, "Not a chance - during my years, not a chance.

"As you know, from my first to my last game, I had David Beckham [as captain] and there were never, ever any discussions at all in the team or in the FA about the captain."

Former England striker Ian Wright, like Campbell a prominent black English player, also contested his former international teammate's assertion, insisting there were better candidates to lead the national side at the time.

"I think he's got the credentials to be captain, but to be captain for 10 years? I'm not sure when you see some of the players that were around then," Arsenal great Wright, who played alongside Campbell for England in the late 1990s, told BBC Radio Five.

"I want a captain that goes in and gets you going. Sol has never had the demeanour where he is aggressive on the pitch and put people in their place.

"People say David Beckham wasn't like that, but he only had to raise his eyebrows to put someone in their place. Maybe Sol could have grown into it, but it's down to the manager.

"Sol was more than good enough to be a captain, but I personally believe there were better candidates at the time."

On Sunday, former FA executive director David Davies, denied any pressure was applied.