Eriksson Says He Signed Deal to Coach Man. United, Mail Reports

Former England soccer manager Sven-Goran Eriksson said he signed a contract to succeed Alex Ferguson at Manchester United in 2002, the Mail on Sunday reported, citing the Swede’s new autobiography.

Ferguson, who retired earlier this year, originally planned to do so 11 years ago before changing his mind. Eriksson was still the England manager at the time.

“I knew it would be tricky,” Eriksson was cited as saying in his book. “I had a contract with England until the 2006 World Cup and I would be severely criticized if I broke that contract. But this was an opportunity to manage Manchester United, probably the biggest club in the world.”

Eriksson said he signed the contract with United only to learn later that Ferguson had reversed his decision to retire.

He also said that he clashed with Ferguson over his decision to take United striker Wayne Rooney to the 2006 World Cup in Germany when he was recovering from injury.

A Manchester United spokesman didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment on Eriksson’s statements.

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