Last updated : 27 January 2003 By editor

Ananova report that though Sven-Goran Eriksson agreed not to hold England friendlies last year because of concerns that the demands on players were too great financial pressures will see the number of England friendlies rise this year.

‘Clubs are increasingly opposed to "meaningless" mid-season friendly internationals, especially when they believe that the FA should cover players' wages while on England duty.

‘The first potential club versus country row could therefore come in August, when England plan a friendly to prepare for the September qualifiers against Macedonia and Liechtenstein.’

Acting FA chief executive David Davies blamed Adam Crozier: "It was decided by Sven and Adam Crozier that we would seek to help clubs on particular dates as we are trying to work on behalf of the whole of football. However, we have a schedule of matches leading up to the Euro 2004 finals and there won't be many gaps in it."

"If we want to have a successful England side then we must ensure that the coach has the best possible chance to achieve that. If England do not play friendlies, then we'd never play non-European sides outside the World Cup. You do not have to be a coach to realise that is not desirable and we can't just sit in our ivory tower."