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Eriksson sought foreign fix, Davies says

Former manager Sven Eriksson considered selecting four foreign-born players for his England squad in the wake of the failed Euro 2004 campaign according to David Davies, the former executive director of the Football Association.

In a Daily Mail serialisation of his book FA Confidential, Davies claimed that Eriksson drew up a shortlist of Premier League imports who were uncapped by their countries and could legally be brought into the England side due to FIFA's residence rules.

The four names he suggested were Chelsea's Italian goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini, Brazilian midfielder Edu, then of Arsenal, and French pair Steed Malbranque and Louis Saha, who played for Fulham and Manchester United respectively.

None of the four ever went on to play for England, with Edu and Saha subsequently capped by their own nations.

“'I like Carlo Cudicini', Sven told me – an opinion which led to a very serious consideration being given within Soho Square to recruiting Chelsea's Italian goalkeeper.

“However, our goalkeeping coach Ray Clemence was particularly concerned, insisting to Sven it would destroy our keepers.

“'Can you also find out about Malbranque, Edu and Saha?' Sven asked me. I wasn't sure what the public reaction would be to an Italian, a Brazilian and two Frenchmen coming into the squad but I did Sven's bidding.

“However, all my discreet enquiries to clubs and agents led to nothing. Miraculously, the moment our interest became known Saha and Edu were called up by their own nations, making them ineligible.”

Tue 30 September, 2008
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