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Arsenal can lay down a marker

Arsenal
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By ESPN Staff

FA open to McLaren's Venables approach

The Football Association are unlikely to block Steve McClaren's bid to bring Terry Venables back into the England set-up.

McClaren, who takes over from Sven-Goran Eriksson after the World Cup finals, has identified Venables as the ideal man to work alongside him on the international scene.

Venables has also had talks with Middlesbrough chairman Steve Gibson and McClaren is concerned that his old club, also been linked with Martin O'Neill and Alan Curbishley, could beat him in the race for the 63-year-old.

Iain Dowie's decision to leave Crystal Palace yesterday has also thrown his name into the list of possible new managers at the Riverside.

Venables, out of the game for three years, may prefer to rejoin England, where it will be easier for him to marry the job to his other business interests and television work.

He managed England from 1994 to 1996 and led the team to the semi-finals of the Euro 96 before losing on penalties to Germany.

He left in controversial circumstances, amid rumours about his business dealings, and the FA were thought to be opposed to his return.

This, however, is untrue. Chairman of the FA's international committee Noel White, widely thought to be anti-Venables, has said he will not oppose his return as part of McClaren's backroom team.

Eriksson likes to leave the coaching sessions to his coaches. The Swede supervises from the sidelines and steps in when he feels it is necessary but McClaren is determined to operate with a more hands-on style.

He wants to do the bulk of the coaching himself when he takes the reins and sees Venables as a senior assistant, someone to turn to with a vast knowledge at international level.

The former England boss has a 30-year managerial career including spells in charge of Tottenham, Barcelona and Australia.