WHAT THE MEDIA SAY: 'Super Sven' begins era with a win

Organisation: England football team

Organisation: England football team

Issue: Sven-Goran Eriksson's first match as coach

England football fans' grieving appeared to be over as Sweden's 'Super Sven' rolled into a freezing Villa Park, along with the frenzied media, on the crest of a PR wave.

The 'refreshing change' (Daily Express, 1/3) may have won the latest England coach an extended honeymoon period as he tries to qualify for World Cup 2002, although - as previous managers have discovered - this may not last long after defeats and poor performances.

Such press attention is not new to England coaches but, after the disappointing reign of Glenn Hoddle and dismal tactical output of Kevin Keegan, the usually scathing press seem likely to allow the 'iceman' time to rebuild the England team (Daily Star, 2/3).

Not everybody seemed completely convinced by England, with many commentators critical of a particularly poor and lacklustre Spanish side.

Internet chat sites, relating to the game (Yahoo! message boards) were not as gracious as the press, with some fans claiming that England were poor for long periods against a sub-standard team.

However, not all internet comment was negative; fans flooded other chat boards to herald the 'new dawn of English football'.

The broadsheets were more pragmatic, seeking to remind readers that it still remains an incredibly difficult task for England to qualify for the World Cup.

Aside from the football, Eriksson's relationship with the press will be particularly intriguing.

Eriksson has said that there will be fewer press conferences than the amount undertaken by previous England managers - and general contact with the media will be far from superfluous. Whether this will come back to haunt him will remain to be seen, as it is unlikely the press will be so forgiving and supportive should his time in charge ever run into choppy waters.

Graham Taylor, famously described by The Sun as a 'turnip', was ultimately dragged down by an unforgiving media, while Hoddle's spell in charge was brought to a premature end as a result of unnecessary remarks to just one newspaper.

Eriksson will surely hope his 'Overnight Sven-sation' headline (Daily Mail, 1/3) will stand him in good stead.

Analysis and commentary by Echo Research. More information can be found at: www.echoResearch.com.

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