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By ESPN Staff

Allardyce rules out England job

Sam Allardyce has ruled himself out of the race to succeed Steve McClaren as England boss.

The Newcastle United manager was being quoted as a 25-1 contender for the post vacated by McClaren in the wake of Wednesday night's disastrous 3-2 defeat by Croatia at Wembley which ended the national side's hopes of making the Euro 2008 finals.

Allardyce, 53, was just pipped to the job by the former Middlesbrough boss when he was appointed in May 2006 after being allowed to throw his hat into the ring by Bolton chairman Phil Gartside.

However, he insisted he is no longer in that position as he attempts to get to grips with arguably just as difficult a challenge at St James' Park.

Allardyce said: 'I am contracted to Newcastle United and from my point of view, that contract needs to be honoured.

'I am not in a position like I was at my old club where the chairman openly extended the invitation for me to go for the position. I am not in that position now.'

Asked if he was ruling himself out, he replied: 'Yes.'

Whether or not that remains the case will unfold over the days and weeks ahead as the Football Association launches its latest search.

However, Allardyce is hoping the response to England's failure will prompt a high-level review of the game at all levels to address the lack of top talent which he believes left McClaren well short of the number of players he needed to succeed.

Asked if the job was becoming impossible, he said: 'Nearly all jobs are becoming more and more impossible to do as time goes by because of the perception that revolves around it and the need for instant success, and none more so than the England job.

'The bottom line is are we really as good as we think we are? That's where the problem really lies, that we probably think we are better than we really are.

'I do think the first 11, 14, perhaps 16 players are high quality for England, but looking at last night, after that we are finding it difficult at international level to cope.

'You need at least 50 top players for your country's opportunity to perform in an international competition because very often as time goes by, you are faced with all sorts of injuries and suspensions.

'You can never go to an international tournament with the top 22 players, so you need 50-plus top players available to you at least.

'I do not know if we have got 50 of that top calibre now.

'We have got some hugely talented players, but we have not got enough. We have certainly not got enough in the Premier League and we are not growing enough.

'If we can do that, then five, eight, 10 years' time, we can re-establish ourselves as a top international team.'

However, Allardyce insisted the current crop of England players do care passionately about playing for their country amid suggestions to the contrary.

He said: 'They are very passionate about playing for their country, but they have got the huge demands of their owners and their coaches to deliver Premier League trophies, Champions League trophies, UEFA Cup trophies, and those are 60-game seasons or 55-game seasons.

'The demands on a player at that level, a Steven Gerrard, a Michael Owen or a Wayne Rooney, are huge.

'Playing 60 games a year every year, playing in high-level competitions will take its toll.

'I hope this is the biggest shock we have had for a long time. It's a big and hard one to take.'

Allardyce pointed to the absence of the likes of Gary Neville, John Terry, Rio Ferdinand Ashley Cole, Wayne Rooney and Michael Owen as one of the reasons for England's demise, and he will hope Owen's thigh injury does not also cost Newcastle dearly.

He is currently in Germany being treated by Hans-Wilhelm Muller Wohlfahrt, and will not return to Tyneside until next week.

However, he is more concerned about defender Steven Taylor's expected loss for Saturday's Barclays premier League clash with Liverpool after he aggravated his back injury on international duty with England's Under-21s.

Allardyce said: 'From my point of view, he should not have been selected by (manager) Stuart (Pearce) and the medical team.

'It should not have been his decision, it should have been the medical staff and Stuart's not to risk him.'