Guus Hiddink, one of the favourites to succeed Sven-Goran Eriksson as England coach, has been described by Franz Beckenbauer as a “genius”.

Eriksson will will quit after the World Cup finals, and Beckenbauer, in London to meet Prime Minister Tony Blair, was quizzed about Hiddink’s credentials as a replacement for the Swede.

Hiddink, who led South Korea to the 2002 World Cup semi-finals, has also helped end Australia’s 32-year wait for an appearance in the finals.

“He is one of the best coaches in the world with a lot of experience,” said Beckenbauer.

“He was coach with the Dutch team in France, he was with Real Madrid, he was with South Korea at the World Cup in 2002 and now he does a double job with Australia and PSV Eindhoven.

“He must be a genius to coach two teams in one season and be successful, it’s fantastic.

“For me it’s maybe the best job in the world. To coach an England team? It’s England, you know? The motherland of football. All the roots of the game are in England.”

Beckenbauer believes that Eriksson’s departure will not affect England’s chances in the summer.

Beckenbauer cited his own experience of announcing his retirement ahead of the 1990 World Cup Finals.

“I think the players were happy they were getting rid of me so they started to run,” said Beckenbauer.

“I don’t think it will affect England, either. The players are playing for themselves and the team, they are not playing for the coach. It is normal.”

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