L'11 perfetto

Sven-Goran Eriksson: Perfect XI

Sven-Goran Eriksson's been around the block, but who are the best 11 players he's ever managed? Funnily enough, he lines 'em up in a 4-4-2...

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Joe Hart
Joe has no weak points in his game and perhaps the only thing he lacks at the moment is experience, but he is gaining it. He has everything it takes to remain as England’s No.1 for many years. 

Gary Neville

Mr Reliable for England when I was manager. Extremely steady. His defending was excellent, but I think he surprised people with how good he was going forward. A very intelligent player.

Alessandro Nesta
A huge defender, absolutely huge. He is quick, can tackle well and is good in the air. Nesta has all the attributes you’d expect from a top-class Italian defender – and the medals to show for it.

Rio Ferdinand
The modern-day central defender: superb technique and genuine pace. It is hard to leave John Terry out of this side as he is a leader, but Rio has these qualities as well.

Ashley Cole
So fast and dangerous going forward, it’s like having another left-winger to deal with. I like my defenders to play football, but he can defend too. I’ve seen him beat much taller players in the air.

Right midfield
David Beckham

A great captain for me and an inspiration to everyone. His right foot was – and still is – outstanding, while his crossing and set-pieces were the best I’ve seen. A great person as well.

Central midfield
Roberto Falcao

At Roma he was my leader on the field. Whenever he played well, the team played well and we’d win. Falcao had vision, technique and would work very hard, too. A truly fantastic footballer.

Central midfield
Roberto Mancini

Every team needs an artist and he was the best of them all. He mainly played as an attacker, but he was also brilliant in midfield. If he could just be quieter and not shout at referees, he’d be perfect!

Left midfield
Ruud Gullit
One of the best Dutch players, and there have been so many. Seldom do you see someone with such physical strength as well as technical ability. Ruud was extremely powerful and a goalscorer.

Wayne Rooney

I still think of him as ‘Wonderboy’ after he burst onto the scene as a 16-year-old. But he always played with experience beyond his years. It’s Rooney’s fire that’s what makes him the player he is.

Torbjorn Nilsson

One of the best I’ve worked with. Technique, artistry, goals, he had everything. We won the UEFA Cup, Swedish Cup and the league all in one season at IFK Gothenburg. Happy days.


Steven Gerrard
An all-round midfielder who can do anything and everything.

Didier Drogba
Goals, a good guy and power with a capital ‘P’ for me at Ivory Coast.

Juan Sebastian Veron
A real leader at Lazio with superb vision and great technical ability.

Frank Lampard
Pretty much the same as Gerrard; Lampard is a great midfielder.

John Terry
It's very difficult to put him on the bench. A true leader and a real fighter.

Sven-Goran Eriksson

It would be a dream to manage this team. I am sure that if I had these players at their peak, we would win everything.

From the August 2011 issue of FourFourTwo.