England keeper Paul Robinson has delivered a bitter indictment of the way coach Sven-Goran Eriksson has been forced out of his job after the World Cup by newspaper revelations.
Robinson said the players want Eriksson to see out his original contract until 2008, that no-one held his comments about some of them against him and added that the Swede had been 'stitched up' by the media.
Eriksson commented on David Beckham, Michael Owen and Wayne Rooney in a meeting organized by a Sunday newspaper, whose reporter posed as a wealthy Arab businessman. Eriksson was also quoted as expressing interest in leaving England to take over at Aston Villa after the World Cup.
Robinson, who is preparing for England's friendly against Uruguay on Wednesday, told reporters: "To go to that kind of extent, to stitch somebody up is disappointing in a year in which we should all be getting together and getting behind the team.
"You should be wanting the team to do well and maybe not going to that kind of extent to cause disruption."
Asked if the players would have held the remarks against Eriksson, Robinson said: "No, I don't think so. Everybody makes mistakes. He's our manager and we want to do well for him.
"It's a difficult situation for somebody to be put in, to talk about other people and other players. You don't know what was actually said, what wasn't said and nobody will know.
"It was a difficult situation for a manager to be in and for the players to be in. But we just want to forget about it now and concentrate on the World Cup."
Robinson, who was promoted into the England number one jersey by Eriksson, painted a portrait of a coach who was well-liked by players.
"I think we'd all like the manager to stay," he said. "He's done very well and we want to do as well for him in this tournament and hopefully send him out on a high.
"He's a very liked man. He's very popular among the players and he's done a good job. It's disappointing the circumstances that have forced him to leave.
"Obviously I respect him because he gave me my chance at this level and he's stayed with me for a long time now. He's just a genuinely nice man, a likeable person."
Despite the reported vignettes about his players to the newspaper, Robinson said he would still trust Eriksson with confidential information.
The Tottenham Hotspur keeper could see only one silver lining for the England squad in the wake of Eriksson's announced departure.
"It brings us closer together definitely, without a doubt," he said. "There's a team spirit and a bonding...bad news and bad things do generally tend to bring you closer together."
Source: China Daily