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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Aug 16, 2006

McClaren wants England to dazzle

Steve McClaren will demand a positive England performance on Wednesday night to erase bitter World Cup memories.

New head coach McClaren wants a strong reaction from his players when they face Greece in their first game since last month's penalty shoot-out defeat to Portugal.

It may be the start of a new England era but nine of tonight's team played in the World Cup quarter-final in Gelsenkirchen.

Of the other two, Stewart Downing watched from the bench and Jermain Defoe was not in the squad.

McClaren said: 'There is bound to be a reaction. In any tournament you can go out in the group stages, quarters, semis and it's the same.

'If you felt you could have stayed longer then there's bound to be a reaction.

'What you'll discover now is the reaction from the players. I'm hoping it's a positive one.'

McClaren accepts that lessons lurk in the debris of England's World Cup disappointment and he is not afraid to confront them.

McClaren said: 'You can look at the past and learn from history and we have got to do that. That's one of the key things.'

The Football Association plan to hold a formal feedback session to discuss what went right and wrong at the World Cup.

McClaren said: 'That will not just be about the set-up and administration but about the team and how it performed.

'From that feedback hopefully we'll learn lessons. We have to learn from failure, mistakes.'

England's players have reported a new vibrancy and intensity to this week's training sessions under McClaren and his assistant Terry Venables.

The new manager has also held a series of meetings in an effort to drum his message into his players.

McClaren said: 'To play as a team you have to give the players responsibilities.

'All we've been doing is saying: These are your responsibilities, this is your job, this is what you have to do on the field and off the field in preparation.

'In my position I have to drive that.

'I have to make sure when the players cross that white line they know exactly what their responsibilities are and know what they have to do.

'That's the key message I try to get out over this short period of time that we've been together.

'It's not going to work all at once. It's not going to all of a sudden come together it's going to be a slow development, an evolution.'

The head coach has also enjoyed his first two days working with Venables ahead of the Greece game at Old Trafford.

McClaren said: 'He's a great buffer. He's great to bounce ideas off and he's got some fantastic ideas himself.

'We think along the same lines. We've got the same ideas and we want to make them work.

'That's what we've been doing the last two days.

'There's been a lot of communication with the players, a lot of meetings with the players.'

McClaren named his team yesterday but his plans were hit when Dean Ashton broke his ankle in training.

Ashton, 22, had been set to start up front with Defoe but the recalled Tottenham striker will now link up with Peter Crouch.

The biggest change tactically comes in midfield where Steve Gerrard will be switched to the right.

Frank Lampard and Owen Hargreaves will play in the centre with Downing on the left.