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By ESPN Staff

'Venables to quit? Absolute rubbish' - McClaren

England coach Steve McClaren has dismissed talk assistant Terry Venables is about to quit as 'absolute rubbish'.

McClaren was forced on to the back foot prior to last month's friendly in Holland following a Venables newspaper column which indicated Middlesbrough winger Stewart Downing had been dropped for the Euro 2008 qualifying defeat in Croatia due to an adverse crowd reaction to his performance in the previous weekend's encounter with Macedonia.

At the time, McClaren insisted there was no problem in his working relationship with Venables.

However, reports at the weekend emerged that the former Tottenham and England coach was thinking about stepping down because he did not feel comfortable in the role of number two.

Yet again, McClaren has come out fighting, revealing that he is in almost daily contact with Venables and their relationship remains as strong as ever.

'These stories annoy me and upset me because they are absolute rubbish,' he said.

'We speak most days every week. We had the scouts round the other day and we were laughing about it because the whole thing is an absolute joke.

'I might not read Terry's column every week but he goes through it with me. He always backs the England team, myself and the players through it and tries to give an insight into what we're trying to do.'

McClaren was speaking at the 'four managers' event organised by Nationwide, the sponsor of the England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales football teams to review the home nations' international football year and to promote Nationwide's 'Cats' Eyes for Kids' child road safety scheme.

The former Middlesbrough boss added that is happy for Venables to continue offering his weekly thoughts and remains delighted with the benefits gained from bringing such an experienced coach back into the England fold.

'I don't take on people who are 'yes people' and I don't take on people who are friends,' he said.

'I take on people who have the experience and who I believe will help England win.

'The relationship I have with Terry is a relationship we have had from the beginning and one we are developing.

'Terry is fantastic working with the players and he has fantastic knowledge.

'I am benefiting from that, the players are benefiting and, in the long run, everybody will benefit from it. That is all I am concerned about.'