Sven Goran Eriksson has emerged as a shock candidate for the vacant Socceroos coaching role but a successor to Ange Postecoglou won’t be announced until mid-February.
Football Federation Australia has formed a nine-person panel — including former Socceroos Mark Bresciano, Stan Lazaridis and Mark Schwarzer — to help pick the man who will take the Australian national team to next year’s World Cup in Russia.
It has also engaged the services of consulting firm SRi Executive but no decision will be made until about a month before Australia’s next fixtures in March.
The panel also includes Socceroos assistant Ante Milicic, FFA’s head of national performance Luke Casserly, national technical director Eric Abrams, chief medical officer Dr Mark Jones and two “international experts,” to be finalised in the near future.
Milicic’s presence on the panel would seem to rule him out of the running for the full-time job.
Last week, Milicic indicated it would be “up to others” if he was to be elevated — now, it appears, he is one of those others.
FFA chief executive David Gallop said the governing body would be steered by the panel on whether the coach will be for the short or long term.
“As things stand, no-one is ruled in or out,” FFA chief executive David Gallop said.
“We are open minded about whether the coach is Australian or someone from overseas but they must live in Australia, embrace the progress on and off the field that has been achieved with national teams over the past four years — especially in the areas of technical development and sports science — and be prepared to be an ambassador for our sport here and abroad.”
The role has attracted significant interest from coaches across the world but former England and Lazio boss Eriksson is the first big name to publicly express his desire.
News Corp reported on Monday the 69-year-old Swede is keen on taking Australia to the World Cup, which would be his fourth as a coach.
“Yes of course I’m interested,” he is quoted as saying.
Jurgen Klinsmann, Marcelo Bielsa and Gianni De Biasi have been linked to the role, as have A-League bosses Graham Arnold, Kevin Muscat and Josep Gombau.
Australia were drawn with France, Denmark and Peru in next June’s tournament, with Eriksson adamant the Socceroos can reach the knockout round.
“The whole world would say France is favourite to win that group, but second I think is very tight … why not Australia?” he said.