Sven-Göran Eriksson was one of many people with Middlesbrough on his mind this week.
EXCLUSIVE: England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson was one of many people with Middlesbrough on his mind when he arrived for work this morning.
Sitting at his Soho Square desk, he could not hide his admiration for the way that Steve McClaren's side went about their task of dismantling one the aristocrats of European football on Thursday night.
Two Bolo Zenden goals were the defining moments of the victory over Lazio but, from an Englishperspective, the stock of both Steve McClaren and Stewart Downing continues to rise swiftly.
When TheFA.com spoke to McClaren last month, he told us that his dual role of Middlesbrough manager and England Coach keeps him fresh and helps him to identify new trends and techniques in the modern game.
He certainly put them to good use with a tactically astute win over the team with which Sven won the Italian League Championship in 2000.
"I must say well done to Steve," said Sven, who watched the whole game. "It was a result and performance to get people talking.
"Lazio is a big name in world football, so Steve canbe very proud. It is a wonderful experience for him."
Sven has also confirmed to us that he is keeping a special eye out for the progression of Boro's emerging left-winger, Stewart Downing and there were more than a few impressive elements of the youngster's display on the big European stage.
"It's not just Steve though," continued Sven. "This is very good for the many young English players that he has at the club. European football can only benefit them.
"I shall of course look forward to catching up with Steve when we meet for our next game against Spain in a couple of weeks."