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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Oct 6, 2007

McClaren praise for strike partnership

Steve McClaren believes England had today's 3-0 win over Estonia at Wembley wrapped up inside 20 minutes. England scored three times before half-time to put them within one victory of qualification for Euro 2008. 'Job done,' the head coach told BBC1. 'It was vital we got the three points we did. We wanted the tempo high in the first 20 minutes and we won it in the first 20 minutes.' He added: 'It was a professional performance.' McClaren hailed the partnership of Michael Owen and Wayne Rooney, which had come under fire in the build-up to the game but the pair combined for Rooney's first competitive international goal since Euro 2004. 'Michael needed a game, needed the run-out, needed the hour,' McClaren said. 'Wayne Rooney had a point to prove and he proved it. 'He deserved his goal and it's good to have him back.'

The one sour note was an injury to Ashley Cole and McClaren revealed the left-back is a major doubt for Wednesday's Moscow date with Russia. 'We're assessing it. It doesn't look good at the moment,' McClaren said. Looking ahead to the Russia match, McClaren revealed he will ponder whether to stick with the same starting XI or make changes. 'We'll have a look, see what little knocks we've got, prepare on Monday,' he said. 'You go for balance. You want to be hard to beat. You want to keep a clean sheet. 'A win would be magnificent but a draw would be suitable. 'It all boils down to the last two games. We're in pole position. It's down to us.'Rooney was understandably happy with the victory, and his own contribution. He said: 'I think the first half, especially, was a good performance. 'There was some good football; we kept the tempo high and we're delighted with the three goals which really killed the game off. 'The second half is always going to be difficult to keep the tempo up, because the game was over. We tried to - but it was always going to be difficult.' Regarding his goal, England's second, the Manchester United striker added: 'Of course, I'm delighted to score at any time. 'To score today, obviously it's been a long time - so I'm delighted. I'm more happy with the three points.'

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