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Eriksson ready to back McClaren as successor

Sven-Goran Eriksson insists he would give Steve McClaren his full backing if, as expected, the Football Association announce today he is to be the next England manager.

The FA are expected to bring an end to a long and painful saga by confirming McClaren's appointment following a board meeting in London.

McClaren is likely to be officially paraded as Eriksson's successor tomorrow.

Eriksson said: 'You know what I think about Steve McClaren, he is extremely good.

'As a coach, he has been perfect. Every time. He is clever, of course. Every time we are together, the coaches sit around for one or two hours after dinner discussing football.

'What to do tomorrow, what the next team might be and everyone has their opinion.

'When I took this job I told them I wanted people to have opinions. I didn't want to have people around me just saying yes.

'He has an opinion. Tord (Grip) always has opinions. Ray (Clemence) and Sammy (Lee) have opinions.'

The Swede said there would be no problem working with the 45-year-old at the World Cup if he is appointed.

Eriksson added: 'I don't know if he has the job. If that happens, of course it's okay. It will be no problem at all.'

The Middlesbrough manager's name was due to be recommended to the board by the selection panel this morning, and the appointment should only be a matter of rubber-stamping.

One member of the six-man selection panel said: 'The board actually makes the decision but the panel have recommended Steve McClaren be appointed as the next England manager.

'We have to wait until the meeting but it would be an almighty surprise if the recommendation was not acted upon.'

McClaren is the selection panel's second choice - Luiz Felipe Scolari pulled out after being offered the job last week - but there is a sense of unanimity over the appointment, when some board members would have been very unhappy at giving Scolari, a Brazilian, the job.

If there is any disagreement at the board meeting it is likely to focus on the selection process. There has been criticism of FA chief executive Brian Barwick for insisting three months ago that an appointment would be made before the World Cup.

The saga with Scolari was an embarrassment as well, and there have even been calls in some quarters for Barwick to quit.

His position is not under threat, however - the benefit to him of finding Eriksson's successor by committee is that most of those who would have the power to force him out were also part of the selection process.

McClaren is also set to be asked to head a team of other English coaches to work with England. Stuart Pearce and Alan Curbishley have both been discussed by the selection panel as potential assistants.