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 Posted by ESPN Staff
May 4, 2006

Bosses unite behind McClaren

England football bosses have vowed to put previous differences of opinion aside and unite behind Steve McClaren who was officially unveiled as Sven Goran Eriksson's successor on Thursday.

McCLAREN'S FIXTURE LIST
August 16 2006:
England v Greece

September 2 2006
Euro: England v Andorra

September 6 2006
Euro: Macedonia v England

October 7 2006
Euro: England v Macedonia

October 11 2006
Euro: Croatia v England

November 15 2006
Holland v England

March 24 2007
Euro: Israel v England

March 28 2007
Euro: Andorra v England

June 6 2007
Euro: Estonia v England

September 8 2007
Euro: England v Israel

September 12 2007
Euro: England v Russia

October 13 2007
Euro: England v Estonia

October 17 2007
Euro: Russia v England

November 21 2007
Euro: England v Croatia

The path to McClaren's appointment was long and controversial, and often came in for criticism from influential figures such as the League Managers Association chief executive John Barnwell.

But today Barnwell stressed any lingering doubts over McClaren's suitability for the role must be pushed aside in order to allow the man still currently Middlesbrough boss to get on with the job.

Barnwell said: 'Now the decision is made it is time for everyone to get behind Steve and start focusing on the more immediate task of trying to bring success to England through the World Cup.'

While Barnwell never championed McClaren's claims above those of his contenders and fellow LMA members Sam Allardyce and Alan Curbishley, he stressed the need for a home-grown replacement.

'If the FA had appointed another foreign coach, they would effectively have been saying they did not feel the English coaches and managers were good enough,' Barnwell added.

'It would have been a damning indictment of their own education and licensing process. This is about the FA meeting their own responsibilities and obligations to the English game.'

Barnwell's view was echoed by Professional Footballers' Association chief executive Gordon Taylor who said he believed McClaren was the right man for the job.

Taylor said: 'Steve McClaren has got the most experience without a shadow of a doubt. He has international club experience, which he got at Manchester United.

'The only worry is that the FA might have made themselves hostages to fortune because if things don't go well during the World Cup there may be a clamour for change.'

News of McClaren's appointment was greeted with pride but disappointment at Middlesbrough who provided him with his first job as a manager five years ago.

McClaren will leave after leading Boro out in the UEFA Cup final in Eindhoven and chief executive Keith Lamb said: 'Whilst we are sorry to lose Steve, we are delighted he is leaving the football club for such a prestigious role.

'We're grateful to Steve for all that he has achieved with Middlesbrough over the past five years, including helping to bring us first major silverware, which will hopefully be topped next Wednesday night in the UEFA Cup Final.'

Oxford manager Jim Smith backed his former assistant from their time at Derby to succeed with England, saying: 'Because he has been there and he has been successful, he was the logical choice.'

Fellow Premiership managers also paid tribute to McClaren's qualities, with Aston Villa boss David O'Leary saying: 'Steve knows all the players.

'There is no-one better to decide at the end of the World Cup who is at the end of the road, who needs to be brought along, who needs to be brought in etc.

Former FA technical director Howard Wilkinson, another who championed the need for an English successor to Eriksson, believes McClaren has got what it takes to cope with the pressure.

Wilkinson told Sky Sports: 'I would expect Steve, despite the pressure he's under, to fulfil his responsibilities as he has done up to now. It's not ideal but I expect he'll be able to deal with it.'

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