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 Posted by ESPN Staff
May 5, 2006

McClaren seeks to build on Eriksson's work

Steve McClaren has paid tribute to Sven-Goran Eriksson for moulding an England team capable of winning a World Cup.

Middlesbrough manager McClaren will step up from England coach and succeed Eriksson after the World Cup finals in Germany.

The pair have worked closely at international level over the last five years and McClaren's role within the England set-up was a major factor in him landing the job.

McClaren, 45, said: 'I've had a fantastic relationship with Sven that started off professional and ended up personal because he's a very good friend.

'We bounce ideas and we've got a very good staff around Sven.

'He's brought a certain calmness, steadiness and charisma to the England job and the English game.

'We've developed this squad to the point where we are going into a World Cup with a distinct possibility of winning it, if we get luck.'

McClaren will retain his England coaching role in the World Cup and formally takes over from Eriksson on August 1.

His first game at the helm will be a friendly against Greece at Old Trafford on August 16.

Former Manchester United coach McClaren said: 'I step up from being number two to number one, where you have to make the final decision. That's something I look forward to.'

The new England manager signed a four-year contract, reported to be worth £3million a year, at Football Association headquarters in London yesterday.

He also thanked Sir Alex Ferguson for giving him his big break with the chance to work at United.

Ferguson brought McClaren from Derby to work as his assistant and the pair led United to the treble in 1999.

McClaren said: 'Working with Sir Alex at that top level was the breakthrough in my career. It gave me the belief and confidence to work with those players.

'I believe international football and international footballers are different.

'They just want to win football matches and they want a person in charge who can help them win.

'They want someone who can give them the right preparation, the right gameplan, the right motivation.'

McClaren used his Champions League triumph and a Carling Cup victory with Middlesbrough to convince the FA he was a winner.

And he claims his rise to the England job can be an inspiration for other young English coaches.

McClaren said: 'Five years ago the FA decided the best man for the job was Sven.

'This time they've gone patriotic and they've gone English. I back that entirely because I believe it's true.

'I'm sat here and that's motivation for any young English coach out there that they can get the qualifications and get the experience.

'That's what we intend to do over the future years is to give people that experience so the England manager continues to be English.

'I've always been in favour of coach development in this country, from starting at Oxford 15 years ago.

'It's something that's really developed in our game. There's so many great English coaches out there in our game.'

McClaren dodged all questions about which coaches might join his backroom staff - and about his ideas for the England team.

He insists he wants to end the season with Middlesbrough, who play in the UEFA Cup final on Wednesday, and then go to the World Cup finals before he starts talking about those issues.

FA chief executive Brian Barwick shrugged off suggestions that McClaren was only second choice behind Brazilian Luiz Felipe Scolari, who withdrew from the running last week.

Barwick said: 'I'm delighted Steve McClaren is our manager.

'This process lasted nine weeks. At times it felt longer but what we tried to do was put together a process that gave us a chance to see as many people as possible.

'We wanted to sift through the candidates, to use the right amount of time and get to the winning candidate.'

McClaren vowed to win over the England fans by winning matches and trophies and his new boss was delighted with his positive attitude.

Barwick said: 'Steve has already suggested his ambition is to land a trophy for England.

'We are a fantastic football nation but we've only won one trophy.

'We have a great set of players and they are young enough to carry it forward into the next European Championship.

'But there isn't a gun to his head, saying we're going to win this.'