Sven-Goran Eriksson insists he is "not married" to David Beckham and not afraid to axe the England skipper if he plays badly.
Beckham is often seen as Eriksson's pet player, who can do no wrong and is rarely substituted.
The captain has played every minute of tournament football under Eriksson, apart from the opening game of the 2002 World Cup against Sweden.
He came off with 27 minutes to play on that occasion because it was his first game back after a broken foot.
Eriksson said: "I am not married to David Beckham, even if you think I am. I'm not even engaged to him.
"I'm prepared to do whatever I need to do if I see things are going wrong. I will do whatever is required.
"I have taken David Beckham off before. Of course I will do it again. If I think he's not, doing the job, yes.
"It's the same with him as all the other players. He's the captain but he is treated the same as all the other players in every way - at the dinner table, on the bus, tactically, in training, in a match.
"He doesn't have any favours just because he's the captain."
Eriksson's warning is part of a new tough-guy image which illustrates his determination to seize his last chance of glory with England.
He played hardball with Manchester United over Wayne Rooney's availability and now he has warned his players they must improve. He hit out at the sloppy defending which allowed Sweden to equalise twice in Tuesday's 2-2 draw.
The England boss was unhappy that his pre-match instructions were ignored and the Swedes were gifted a route back into the game.
Eriksson said: "We didn't mark. We were shouting from the bench all the time to get them to do it better. We always prepare set-pieces, attacking and defending. In the dressing room there is a board, set out with the pitch drawn on it.
"There it is written: 'You mark him, you mark him, you mark him'. It's written all the positions where they should stay.
"I don't know what happened. We did it poorly. That's okay in a game like Sweden but it can't be okay in the future."
England went ahead twice against the Swedes but had to hang on for a 2-2 draw.
Eriksson has sat and watched the game twice on tape, analysing what went wrong after a prom-ising first half. He said: "We got nervous after the first goal. It was bad.
"It doesn't matter whose fault it is. We defended poorly. I can take the blame for that, no problem.
"It is a collective thing. We are to blame and if you want to put the coaches and manager in that, we did it badly.
"We defended badly and we can't deny that. It happens in football. We have to work with it. I'm sure it will not happen again."
Beckham was beaten to a header at the near post when Marcus Allback scored Sweden's first. Eriksson said: "Today and tomorrow, we're going to practice again.
"It happens in football. If it had to happen, that was the right game for it to happen in. We conceded two bad goals and, if you want to find who is to blame, blame me please. That is easy and I can take that."