McClaren takes over as England manager

Steve McClaren takes over as England coach on Tuesday, facing the huge task of restoring faith in the national team after another disappointing World Cup.

updated: February 25, 2007 11:36 IST
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Steve McClaren takes over as England coach on Tuesday, facing the huge task of restoring faith in the national team after another disappointing World Cup. He was appointed in May as England's 11th coach. Sven-Goran Eriksson stepped down after the World Cup in Germany, where England lost on penalties to Portugal in the quarterfinals. McClaren, the former Middlesbrough manager and assistant to Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, was selected after Portugal coach Luiz Felipe Scolari turned down the job. Before even settling into his new job, McClaren already had his first rejection from former England captain Alan Shearer, who turned down the chance to work with England to focus instead on TV commentating. McClaren had wanted a former player on his backroom team to foster a closer relationship with the players. He has lined up former England coach Terry Venables - who left after leading the team to the semifinals of the 1996 European Championship - as one deputy. Choosing a captain Among McClaren's first duties will be picking a new England captain. David Beckham stepped down from the captaincy after the World Cup, leaving Chelsea's John Terry and Liverpool's Steven Gerrard as the leading contenders for the role. McClaren has been part of the England coaching setup since 2000, working closely with Eriksson. But McClaren's primary focus on starting his four-year contract - two days after England marked the 40th anniversary of its only World Cup triumph - will be to distance himself from the Swede. McClaren's first game in charge is the August 16 friendly against Greece at Old Trafford. England hosts Andorra on September 2 and travels to Macedonia four days later in the first qualifiers for the 2008 European Championship. "It won't be difficult for Steve to impose himself," Terry told The Times of London from Chelsea's preseason tour in the United States. "Every manager is different and Steve will be really different. "Sven was a little bit quiet and Steve will be in your face a bit more, which some of us like to see. We like to see that passion which he has in him and hopefully that will rub off on us." McClaren, 45, played as a midfielder at Hull City, Derby County, Bristol City and Oxford, where he turned to coaching in the youth and reserve teams. He was first team coach at Derby from 1995-99 before becoming Ferguson's assistant at Manchester United during the very successful years of 1999-2001. "One thing that makes him a good coach is he's lucky," said Jim Smith, who recruited McClaren to coach Derby. "But he's a very talented coach and very good at man-management. He knows what the best footballers are all about and gains their respect." In 2001, he became manager of Middlesbrough, guiding the club to mid-table finishes. He led the club to its first ever trophy in the 2004 League Cup, and Middlesbrough reached its first European final in May, losing 4-0 to Sevilla for the UEFA Cup. Tactical changes After England's lackluster World Cup in Germany, where it was eliminated on penalties for the fifth time in its past eight major tournaments, McClaren will consider tactical changes. England's World Cup squad was full of individually talented players, but failed to gel. After playing the same 4-4-2 style for most of Eriksson's time in charge, England fielded several different playing formations in the Cup. The two brightest points out of Germany were Owen Hargreaves and Aaron Lennon. When allowed to play, the 19-year-old Lennon frightened defenders with his pace on the right wing - and one of McClaren's big decisions will be whether to play him in Beckham's position or alter the midfield to play them both. Beckham is recovering from a leg injury sustained against Portugal, but his future in the team is not secure. Now 31, Beckham's delivery from dead balls is as sharp as ever, but the rest of his midfield play is lacking. He's played 94 times for England and McClaren could choose to drop Beckham for good once he reaches 100. McClaren will also have to rethink his forward line with Michael Owen sidelined for the rest of the year after sustaining a serious knee injury in Germany. Wayne Rooney is suspended for the Andorra and Macedonia games after being sent off against Portugal. That leaves Peter Crouch as England's only experienced striker. McClaren has to then decide if he wants to use 17-year-old Theo Walcott, who has yet to play in the Premier League and went to the World Cup and didn't play in that either, or turn to Darren Bent or Jermain Defoe, who didn't travel to Germany. McClaren is also said to want to get rid of the showbiz aura around the team. The presence of the England team's wives and girlfriends in Germany - and their shopping and partying habits - created huge media coverage. (AP)