Sven-Goran Eriksson has admitted he sometimes thinks he should have rejected the chance to manage England in order to stay at former club Lazio.
The Swede was appointed by the FA in January 2001, becoming the first foreign manager to take charge of the England team following an impressive spell in Italy.
Eriksson led Lazio to the Serie A title in 1999-00, only the second time they had won the league in their history. Lazio also won the Coppa Italia, European Cup Winners’ Cup and Supercoppa Italiana under his management.
“I am still a Lazio fan,” Eriksson told Radio Radio.
“They were the strongest team I have ever coached. It was a real team, perhaps one of the best in the world at the time.
“We won a lot in three and a half years. Perhaps they could have won more. But it was a wonderful time; the best years of my professional life, without a doubt.”
Under Eriksson, England went out at the quarter-final stage three tournaments in a row – at the 2002 World Cup, Euro 2004 and the 2006 World Cup.
However, there remains a strong sentiment among England fans that the Three Lions’ ‘Golden Generation’ should have achieved far more in the mid-2000s.
Eriksson admits it has crossed his mind that he perhaps should have stayed in Rome.
“Sometimes I thought that maybe it would have been better to stay in Italy, to stay at Lazio,” he said.
“But when an offer like that comes from the English national team, it only comes once in a lifetime.
“I thought I really couldn’t say no. I would have regretted it for the rest of my life if I hadn’t accepted that invitation.
“Maybe I was wrong, maybe not. Who knows? What happened, happened.”
Eriksson remembers a time when Serie A could attract the finest players in the world - and the best managers.
“Italian football in the eighties and nineties was the most beautiful league in the world,” he added.
“The hardest, most beautiful of all. Unfortunately, I think the Premier League is the best today.
“When I first arrived in Italy at Roma (in 1984) I had, at the same time, an offer from Barcelona and I said no because I wanted to come to Italy, where the best football in the world was.
“All the great players wanted to come to Italy to play.”