Sir Alex Ferguson has claimed that Sven-Goran Eriksson was poised to walk out on England to join Manchester United before the Old Trafford manager decided to extend his stay at the club.

Rumours of such a deal surfaced before last year’s World Cup finals, but Eriksson consistently denied he had any plans to walk out on England. Ultimately, the issue became irrelevant when Ferguson performed a u-turn and agreed to stay at Manchester United for another three years.

‘I think they’d done the deal all right,’ Ferguson says in an interview to be published in The Times magazine tomorrow.

‘I don’t know for certain, but I’m sure it was Eriksson. I think they’d shaken hands. They couldn’t put anything on paper because he was still England manager.’

Ferguson also appears to take a swipe at the Swede’s style of management, hinting that Eriksson is something of a ‘yes-man’.

He adds: ‘I think Sven Eriksson would have been a nice easy choice for them (theUnited directors) in terms of nothing really happens, does it?

‘He doesn’t change anything. He sails along, nobody falls out with him.

‘He comes out and says ‘the first half we were good, second half we were not so good. I amvery pleased with the result.’ ‘I think he’d have been all right for United, you know what I mean? The acceptable face.’